Time is of the essence when one discusses true Balsamic Vinegar… 12 years can be excellent; 25 years is exceptional; and 40+ years.. simply exquisite! Can you imagine? – must from grapes that grew and saw the light more than a quarter of a century ago! Like aged wine or brandy, I envision what life was like back then. Hmmm.. jeans certainly fit better. And there was dial-up internet. Actually, some of the balsamic slept through the rotary-dial-party-line phones!
During this rest, balsamic vinegar quietly develops into it’s signature rich, glossy deep brown liquid with a complex flavor that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks.
There are three types of authentic Balsamic Vinegar-
- Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP
- Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia DOP
- Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP
Points to note-
Balsamic Vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume. This creates a concentrate or “must”. It is then fermented, naturally reducing over the years. Giuseppe Giusti was the first well known producer, establishing and maintaining the benchmark since 1604.
Drops of balsamic vinegar are traditionally served on chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano and on mortadella as an antipasto. It is also used on eggs, grilled fish, as well as on fresh fruit – particularly strawberries or pears. It can be drizzled on burrata or mozzarella di bufala, and even on gelato or ice cream. And, of course, a drop alone on a spoon defines true experience.
As a footnote: we now carry several of the Giuseppe Giusti offerings at La Jolie! I dream of their beginnings…and marvel at the ‘best-before date’… 2026 !