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 Ten Facts about Balsamic Vinegar 
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Post Ten Facts about Balsamic Vinegar
Ten Facts about Balsamic Vinegar
by: Sally Nightingale

Balsamic vinegar is not vinegar used in the usual sense, it is made from a reduction of cooled grape juice. It has a rich history and can be used in salad dressings, dips, marinades and to enhance the flavour of steaks, eggs, grilled fish and even fruits such as strawberries and pears.

1. Types

There are three types of balsamic vinegar: authentic artisan balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale), commercial grade balsamic vinegar and Condimento grade products which are usually a mix of the traditional and commercial balsamic product.

2. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Only two consortia produce true traditional balsamic vinegar: Modena which is located on the south side of the Po Valley, and Reggio Emila, which is in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy.

3. History

The earliest ancient writing which mention balsamic vinegar date back to the year 1046, when the Emperor of Germany, Henry II, travelled to Rome for the coronation stopping in Piacenca. From there he wrote to Boniface, Marquis of Tuscany and father of the famous Countess Matilde of Canossa, asking for a gift of special vinegar which he heard “flows in the most perfect manner”.

4. Process

The process of making the vinegar begins crushing the wine grapes and concentrating their juice over an open flame. This is then fermented twice to create the smooth and subtle sour taste. The liquid is then transferred into wooden barrels which is where the vinegar is actually made. As the volume evaporates and decreases, the maturing liquor is then moved to smaller barrels, where each barrel has its own special blend of aromatic flavouring woods.

5. Production

The production of the vinegar is governed by Italian law and provides that a specific Certification Agency (Cermet) oversee all of the production stages. The production of the vinegar will tell the story of true traditional differentiation.

6. Aging

Traditional balsamics can be aged in barrels for as many as 75 years and has a smooth and almost honey-like taste and is less acidic and sweeter than commercial balsamic vinegar. It is a purplish brown colour and has a think and syrupy consistency.

7. Grades

Both Modena and Emilia Romagana have consortiums that certify the quality and production of the balsamic vinegar, stamping it with a grade which indicates the length of time that it had been matured.

8. Shelf Live

Balsamic vinegar has a long shelf life. It is recommended that the product should be stored a 4-30 degrees centigrade but there is no need to refrigerate the product. The product can be exposed to air, however, this may cause the product’s solids to filter out.

9. Nutritional Facts

Balsamic vinegar is very low in sodium and saturated fat, however, a large portion of the calories in the product come from sugars.

10. Uses

In the early days of its production, balsamic vinegar was used for medicinal purposes. However, these days it is a refined product used in cooking. Traditional balsamic vinegar can be used neat to dress salads, to accompany antipasti dishes or it can be used in cooking to liven up mayonnaise, sauces and pastes. It greatly complements red meats, game or white meats. However, it should only be added to cooked food at the end of cooking, otherwise it loses its significant aroma.

About The Author
Balsamic vinegar has a rich history dating back as far as 1046. It can be used to dress salads, antipasti dishes, steaks, grilled fish and to liven up sauces such as mayonnaise.
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Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:16 am
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