Balsamic vinegar is known as sweet and sour essence of grape must aged in barrels (aka balsamic). This is the most exquisite seasoning ever made in Italy..
The very first mention of balsamic vinegar dates back to the mid-11th century, when Margrave Boniface presented a keg of balsamic to the future monarch Henry II..
Subsequently, such gifts became a tradition, they emphasized the high social status of donors and served as dowry for girls.
Types of Balsamic Vinegar
Today we can meet three types of balsamic.
The labeling of the bottles “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena” means that the product is made according to the traditional recipes of the province of Modena, and the inscription “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia” indicates belonging to Reggio Nel Emilia.
- A consortium of manufacturers is located only in two regions of Italy;
- Made exclusively from varietal grapes Trebbiano and Lambrusco;
- Maturation takes 12 years or more..
Balsamico, produced only in these two regions of Italy, has the right to be called traditional.
Cheaper than traditional
This includes all other options for balsamic vinegar when the production process is not controlled by a consortium. On the bottles you will see the following inscriptions: “Condimento grade balsamic vinegar”, “Aceto Balsamico di Modena”, “Balsamic Vinegar of Modena”. For example, the Giusti family, produced Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (1605-1929), and bore the title of the official supplier of balsamic for the royal court.
All remaining varieties of balsamic, which for one reason or another did not deserve the traditional certificate, fall into this category. In this case, the essence is a vinegar with the addition of dyes, sweeteners and aromatic additives, with the complete absence of exposure. Available to the consumer due to low prices..
Balsamico is widely used in the food industry and in the preparation of a wide variety of dishes. It is used as an additive in salads, soups, various sauces, unique marinades, savory desserts..
Do not resort to heat treatment; they are added at the final stage of cooking..
There is a belief that even a small amount of balsamic can change the taste of a dish beyond recognition, and the most inexpressive composition can become a culinary masterpiece..
Gourmet dishes, fruit salads and dessert assortment are flavored with twelve-year balsamic extract, which is rightfully considered a delicacy..
Composition and production process
We can not boast, even today, reliable knowledge about the composition of balsamic vinegar, with an indication of all its components and proportions. However, it is absolutely possible to say that it contains a large amount of glucose, polyphenols, fructose, antioxidants and various acids. It is generously filled with micro and macro elements: potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, manganese.
Even in the absence of an exact composition and proportions of balsamic, the technology of its development is not a special secret. Pressed grape juice is boiled down to a syrupy consistency. In order to stimulate the fermentation process topped up with vinegar, kept in attics. At the first stage, the essence is stored in oak barrels, and then they are successively replaced with barrels of ash, cherry, chestnut and mulberry.
As it evaporates, the contents are poured each time into a smaller barrel, as a result of which the composition is filled with a complex aroma with a taste of various types of wood..
In order for balsamic vinegar to be produced without violating the technology and considered traditional, such alternation should occur at least 12 times, and more refined balsamic types are kept for about 50 years..
Balsamic vinegar application
- When treating burns and open wounds, it is applied externally;
- In the treatment of throat – gargle;
- To prevent hair loss;
- To improve the complexion when added to the cream;
- In cooking, especially in Italian cuisine, in the preparation of traditional dishes;
- As an additive in seafood.
Basic dressing with balsamic vinegar can be prepared quickly and by yourself. This is the most affordable option refueling..
We take olive oil and pour balsamic oil into it. On one spoon of balsamic vinegar add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. This dressing is harmoniously and balancedly combined with salads, mainly from leaves: Romano, iceberg, lettuce.
The pesto dressing with the addition of balsamic wine vinegar is distinguished by refined delicacy and piquancy. In Italy, it is said that proportions are mixed by eye: a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, one balsamic, one green pesto.
Mix and fill the salad with this mixture. Especially suitable for those who are on a diet or love the Italian taste. This is the best way to keep your body from mayonnaise..
Mustard-honey sauce with balsamic for salad: olive oil – a quarter cup, balsamic vinegar add two times less from olive oil, honey – no more than half a teaspoon, Dijon mustard – also half a spoon, chive, black pepper and salt to taste. Chop the garlic thoroughly and mix with the other ingredients, whipping the mixture. Salad dressing ready.
More on the use of balsamic vinegar, see the video:
Selection and storage of balsamic
To this question it is necessary to go with special scruples. If you want to buy balsamic only of good quality and with appropriate exposure, you need to be very careful. This action does not tolerate haste, there are no trifles in it.
The simplest and most obvious rule is: do not skimp on a purchase, and the more significant your generosity is, the higher the quality of the essence. However, you may feel sad about this approach, given that balsamic with an exposure of more than 25 years can cost up to 1000 euros.
Therefore, a more compromise solution will be the golden mean. You can safely buy vinegar in average prices (10-15 euros per bottle), and you are guaranteed to get a decent quality of essence for reasonable money.
The main criteria when choosing and buying
- The preferred type is balsamic with an abbreviation on a bottle of AVTM. This is the way all manufacturers of traditional vinegar from Modena are labeled;
- All variations made outside the province fall into the second category: Certified by ICEA and Controllo Autorizzata dal MiPAAF. The availability of the price and the availability of such a product carries with it possible fakes and low quality. In order not to be trapped, we carefully examine the texture – it must be viscous and have a rich color;
- Often offer a more affordable product manufactured in Spain or Greece. The recommendations are the same: color and texture;
- If you find the letters ABM or ABRE on the label, then you have in your hands products with an exposure time of up to five years, with the possible addition of a natural dye;
- Balsamico should not have a base price. We choose at an average price, not at the expense of the quality of the product;
- Carefully study the labeling. The composition should not contain dyes, antioxidants and preservatives. Otherwise, you will get an industrially manufactured product with a doubtful taste;
- Must be made from 100% grape juice, with a maximum acidity of up to 6% (study the inscriptions on the label in detail);
- One of the main indicators is the extract, which according to the production technology should be more than three years (indicated on the bottle);
- If balsamic quality and belongs to the class of traditional, it must necessarily have a confirming certificate (ICEA MIPAAF). The label will contain: Certified by ICEA and Controllo Autorizzata dal MiPAAF;
- We remember that throughout Italy, traditional vinegar manufacturers are required to undergo certification;
- On the bottle you will find a distinctive sign of a round shape in yellow and blue
Golden rules for choosing original balsamic vinegar:
- Produced in Reggio Emilia (red label – 12 years old, silver – 18 years old, golden – over 25);
- Produced in Modena (beige cap – 12 years old, golden – over 25 years old);
- The cost of young balsamic 100 grams. – up to 50 euros. If the exposure is over 25 years – up to 75 euros;
- If you have a hypermarket near you, the likelihood that you will be able to find traditional balsamico is quite high. Otherwise, it is worth trying your luck by placing an order through the online store..
|9% vinegar –||450 ml|
|Cherry –||400 g|
|Cinnamon –||1/3 tsp|
|Sugar –||1 tbsp.|
|Time for preparing: 2880 minutes||Calories per 100 grams: 52 Kcal|
Having learned about the cost of balsamic vinegar, you are likely to be deterred by its high price. Do not be upset, because the original is a worthy replacement, which is used by chefs. All components are available and always at hand..
Cherry is separated from the seed and we press. To the resulting mass add all the other components, bring to a boil.
On low heat, keep up to half an hour. Give cool, pour into glass dish, carefully close the lid and put away in the refrigerator.
You can forget about the cherished vessel for a few days, but not more than three. Remove the container with the cherished essence, carefully filter, pour into a beautiful bottle and put it in the refrigerator again..
Although this balsamic will differ from the traditional composition of vinegar from Modena, you will still get the idea that you managed to touch one of the great secrets of cooking with your own hands..
For many years, balsamic was prepared as a healing drug with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic action. Lucretia Borgia repeatedly used it as a medicine in the form of balsam, when the plague prevailed in Spain, and Giacomo Casanova found the use of balsamic as an aphrodisiac..
Mysterious balsamic vinegar will remain an unknown legend that does not prevent him from pleasing us with his unique savory taste..
We suggest to familiarize yourself with the video plot below: