“Real Balsamic Vinegar”
Real Balsamic Vinegar comes from the Modena, Italy region and like most authentic Italian products, is produced under rigid restrictions. It was originally manufactured as a tonic, but is now considered a high-end flavoring. It is also the bestselling vinegar in America accounting for over 45% of all vinegar sales.
There are a few ways real balsamic vinegar is made. Modern American manufacturing (that is not governed under any laws) that is designed to satisfy the growing demand can be made in just a few hours and includes sweetening and coloring plain wine vinegar and then packaging it as “Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.” The better or traditional way of making real Balsamic vinegar begins by taking White Trebbiano grape pressings and boiling them down to a dark syrup and then aging it. The syrup is placed initially into oak kegs, along with vinegar and the aging process begins. Over the years it graduates and is moved to smaller and smaller kegs made of chestnut, cherry wood, ash, mulberry, and juniper until it is ready for sale. All of these woods progressively add different flavors to the real balsamic vinegar. As it ages, moisture evaporates out, further thickening the vinegar and concentrating the flavor. The real balsamic vinegar is aged for a minimum of 12 years and generally over 15 years with some bottles aging over 100 years. Real Balsamic vinegar that has aged for these longer periods of time can cost more than $400 for just over 2 ounces, making it one of the most expensive ingredients in the world.
Don’t want to spend the money on expensive real Balsamic Vinegar? Try reducing the cheaper Balsamic vinegars and adding a few things to sweeten and savor the deal!
Recipe Yield: ¼ Cup
8 oz Real Balsamic Vinegar
1 tblspn Honey
1 tsp Salt
- Pour real Balsamic vinegar into a medium-sized pot and turn on “high” heat.
- Allow real Balsamic vinegar to boil for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until it becomes fairly thick.
- Remove from heat and stir in Honey and Salt.
- Serve immediately or store in a cool dry place almost indefinitely.
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