The best balsamic vinegar is one in which there is nothing but grapes.
Not everything is balsamic vinegar. In the store you can find bottles with a similar name and different price, differing at times. This balsamic vinegar is produced and aged in the Italian cities of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Produced in Italy, vinegar has a specific form of a bottle and foil on the lid.
This balsamic vinegar has notes of honey, figs, raisins, caramel and wood. To taste it so good that you can even drink it.
So what is balsamic vinegar?
This is a squeeze of grapes. The difference from wine vinegar is that the grape juice is not fermented. Unfermented juice of white sweet grapes is called must or grape must. Usually it is grape juice of Trebiano variety.
Balsamic vinegar can be easily found in any store. Some types of vinegar are expensive, and others - not. Sometimes cheap varieties are of quite good quality.
There are three types of balsamic vinegar:
1. Real( traditional) balsamic vinegar. It comes in bottles of 100 ml and costs from 50 to 500 dollars per bottle. The age of such vinegar should be at least 10 years. However, the best is considered balsamic vinegar with aging from 15 to 25 years. As a rule, it is not poured into dishes, but is used drop by drop. This vinegar has a dark color, consistency of syrup and sweet and sour aroma. It also has a slight acidity and a pungent odor.
On the bottle with real vinegar there is a seal, a list of ingredients and notes on the tag attached to the cork thread. The label indicates the age of vinegar, the shelf life and the word "tradizionale".
To make sure that you have the right vinegar before you, you can do the following:
- Make sure that the letter with the letters is on the plug and on the label.
- This vinegar Modena is only in pear-shaped bottles of 100 ml.
- Vinegar, produced in Modena, has a red and silver label, which indicates vinegar aging 12 and 18 years respectively.
- On a bottle of vinegar, there may be a gold lid with a minimum aging of 20 years.
- The bottle with vinegar is packed in a box, in which there is a brochure with recipes and a description of the process of production of vinegar.
- This vinegar is usually sold in elite expensive stores.
This vinegar for cooking can also be found at not very high prices.
2. Cheap, or commercial, balsamic vinegar is good for vinaigrettes. This vinegar has a brown color and a sweetish caramel flavor.
3. Vinegar from the manufacturer of traditional balsamic vinegar, but at a much lower price. This vinegar is also very high quality, but has a slight endurance. To find out the age of vinegar, read the labels.
A little from the history of balsamic vinegar
Until the late 1970s, balsamic vinegar was known only in Italy, and outside of it nobody knew about it. In Italy, balsamic vinegar has been produced for more than 1000 years, but it was never intended for commercial purposes. The secrets of cooking vinegar are family and are inherited from generation to generation. Balsamic vinegar is usually given in small bottles to the best friends or bequeathed to daughters as a dowry.
The first mention of balsamic vinegar dates back to 1046, when Emperor Enrico III of Franconia received a bottle of vinegar as a gift. In the Middle Ages, balsamic vinegar was used as a disinfectant. He was generally considered a miracle cure, capable of curing all diseases: from fatigue to sore throat.
Production of balsamic vinegar
The process of making vinegar is like cooking wine. Balsamic vinegar is obtained from the juice of white sweet grapes, which are brewed in syrup. Grapes are cooked over low heat in copper boilers until the amount of liquid is reduced by 50%.The remaining must is placed in wooden barrels. There, the previously prepared balsamic vinegar is added to cause acetic fermentation.
Every year vinegar is poured into barrels consisting of other types of wood so that vinegar absorbs all their flavors. Most often used barrels of oak, cherry, chestnut, acacia, juniper and ash.
By age, vinegar is divided into young( aging period 3-5 years), middle age( 6-12 years) and old( 12-150 years).
Balsamic vinegar gives a special flavor to the following foods and dishes:
- Ice cream
- Fresh figs
- Fresh vegetables or vegetables cooked on the grill
- Boiled or grilled meat
- Cat pane
- Shellfish( shrimps, scallops, lobsters)
- Salads from vegetables and pasta
- Salads and Vinaigrettes
Aged balsamic vinegar is very expensive. There is vinegar, which is aged for 100 years or more. It has a dark brown color, a thick consistency and a sweet taste. Buy it - a very big luxury. Not everyone can afford it. Therefore, Italian chefs use cheap commercial vinegar instead, adding a little brown sugar.
To create a semblance of old aged vinegar, you need to take 0.5 cups of commercial balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
The mixture is boiled in a small saucepan over medium heat. After 4 minutes, the amount of vinegar is reduced by half, and the mixture itself becomes thicker. Reduce heat and cook for 2 more minutes.
The output should be ¼ cup vinegar.
Dishes that can be prepared from real( traditional) balsamic vinegar:
Shrimps in balsamic vinegar
Cooking time: 20 min.
200 grams of large raw shrimp to be cleaned
3 garlic cloves, chop
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup balsamic vinegar( Traditional Aceto Balsamico or Faux Aged Balsamic Vinegar)
1tablespoon of onion, chervil or parsley for decoration
1. Mix the prawns with garlic and olive oil in a bowl and leave to marinate for half an hour.
2. Preheat a large frying pan, add butter. When the oil is hissing, add shrimp. Stir the shrimp with a wooden spoon or spatula. The fire should be moderate. When the shrimps begin to turn pink, add the remaining olive oil and garlic in the bowl. Mix everything well.
3. Reduce the heat to a minimum, add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, quickly stir to allow the vinegar to mix with shrimp. Alternately add 3 more tablespoons of vinegar, stirring after each. It is important that each shrimp is covered with vinegar.
4. Put the prawns on a dish and sprinkle with salt. Pour balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with herbs. Immediately submit to the table.
Strawberries with balsamic vinegar
It is necessary: a lot of fresh strawberries, which should be washed and dried;0.5 cups of quality balsamic vinegar and 1 glass of powdered sugar.
Invite the guests and invite them to dip berries first into balsamic vinegar, and then into powdered sugar. Guests will be pleasantly surprised by the unexpected taste.