A Guide to Balsamic Vinegar

A Guide to Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a slightly sweet, dark, richly flavored vinegar used to enhance salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. It can be reduced to a glaze and drizzled over strawberries, stirred into a risotto, or tossed with Brussels sprouts or red onions to let its sugars caramelize in the oven.

But what is balsamic vinegar, really? How is it made? What’s the difference between white balsamic and regular balsamic vinegar? What makes some balsamic vinegar so expensive?

Earlier this year I spent a week in Italy on an intensive educational trip to learn about balsamic vinegar. I visited several commercial operations as a guest of the Consortium of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, as well as smaller traditional balsamic producers, and even an above-the-garage attic where a family has been making balsamic for their personal use for 60 years.

In this article I’ll cover where the tradition of balsamic vinegar comes from, and explain the different types of balsamic vinegar, the current modern practices of producing balsamic vinegar for broad consumption, and how to choose which balsamic vinegar to buy.

  • What is Balsamic Vinegar
  • Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • Age Labeling
  • How to Evaluate Balsamic Vinegar
  • What is White Balsamic
  • What is Balsamic Glaze
  • How to Store Balsamic Vinegar


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