Savory — December 12, 2011
True Balsamic vinegars are hard to find
“I recently attended the International Chocolate Salon in San Francisco and discovered some absolutely delicious infused oils and balsamic vinegars. The company’s name is Gourmet Blends and they sell their oils online and at various events and trade shows. As a cook and a diner, I’m a big fan of Balsamic vinegar and Gourmet Blends balsamic vinegars are just extraordinary. In this video, Lenny Levy explains what makes they’re balsamic vinegars special. After watching this video and speaking with Lenny, I discovered some “fake” balsamic vinegars on our kitchen shelf and was surprised to see who produced them. In contrast, Gourmet Blends balsamic vinegars are the real deal and I highly recommend them. All of the Gourmet Blends oils and vinegar are of the highest quality. Once you taste them, you will know what I mean.” -scott morrow
A Brief History of Balsamic Vinegar:
The same country that brought you such notable artists as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, as part of the Renaissance, also provides a culinary artistry that offers incomparable quality and taste – the wonderfully adaptable aged balsamic vinegar, aceto balsamico di Modena. Balsamic vinegar can only be produced in the regions of Modena and Reggio in Italy. The first historical reference to balsamic vinegar dates back to 1046, when a bottle of balsamic vinegar was reportedly given to Emperor Enrico III of Franconia as a gift. In the Middle Ages, it was used as a disinfectant. It also had a reputation as a miracle cure, good for everything from sore throats to labor pains.
Balsamic vinegar is an aged reduction of white sweet grapes (Trebbiano for red and Spergola for white sauvignon) that are boiled to a syrup. The grapes are cooked very slowly in copper cauldrons over an open flame until the water content is reduced by over 50%. The resulting “must” is placed into wooden barrels and an older balsamic vinegar is added to assist in the acetification. Each year the vinegar is transferred to different wood barrels so that the vinegar can obtain some of the flavors of the different woods. The only approved woods are oak, cherry, chestnut, mulberry, a cacia, juniper, and ash. The age of the vinegar is divided into young – from 3 to 5 years maturation; middle aged 6 to 12 years and the highly prized very old which is at least 12 years and up to 150 years old.