Those who enjoy a spritz, a dip, or a balsamic vinegar dunk (hand us that whole bread) know that finding a brand that appeals to your taste buds isn't always easy. The world of balsamic vinegar is vast and comes in a wide variety of flavors and styles. This is exciting but can also be frustrating when trying to find the perfect combination for a marinade. As we're all balsamic vinegar lovers too, we've put together some of our top picks and a guide on what to look for when looking for the perfect topping for your ice cream. Oh yes, you can and should put balsamic dressing on your ice cream.
TraditionalBalsamic vinegar is formedin Reggio Emilia and Modena, Italy. When using locally grown Lambrusco or Trebbiano grapes, producers start with a must where the grapes are pressed including the juice, skin, seeds and stem.Inexpensive balsamic vinegarIt is usually made with vinegar, sweeteners, and thickeners. Authentic balsamic vinegar is made from must or a combination of must and vinegar.
Finding the right balsamic vinegar for your taste will require you to try different brands, but there are somesome things to watch out forThis can help point you in the right direction. Balsamic vinegars that list grape must as the first ingredient are mild and sweet, while brands that list wine vinegar first are tart. The thicker the balsamic vinegar is, which you can test by shaking the bottle (a layer on the inside means it has a syrupy consistency), the better the quality.
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Balsamic vinegar not only flavors cheese, fruit and vegetables, meat and desserts, but alsovarious health benefits. It has been shown to lower cholesterol, help with weight loss and acne, lower blood sugar and improve digestion.
Which Balsamic Vinegar Should You Try Today? We've compiled a list of our favorites, but the best part is trying as many as possible.
1. Italian Balsamic Wine Vinegar Giuseppe Giusti Gran Deposito
For balsamic vinegar lovers who are willing to spend a little more money to enjoy a powerful and flavorful product, we recommend Giuseppe Giusti Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Di Modena, aged artisanal Italian balsamic wine vinegar. Giuseppe Giusti uses sun-dried Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes and aged wine vinegar to make his must, and ages his vinegar in wooden barrels for 12 years. Designed to pair with beef, cheese, pasta and fruit, the award-winning balsamic vinegar has a smooth texture with hints of plum, honey and vanilla.
2. Two Golden Victories Golden Balsamic Vinegar
BEST FOR COOKING
kitchen masterFans are familiar with Due Vittorie Oro Gold Balsamic Vinegar, which is frequently featured on the reality cooking show. A staple of fine dining restaurants, Due Vittorie Oro Gold Balsamic Vinegar is a favorite among chefs who appreciate the brand's freshly-picked Trebbiano and Lambrusco white grapes. Free from caramel, added flavors and preservatives, 100% natural balsamic vinegar leaves a pleasant black cherry aftertaste and can be used with cheese, fruits and vegetables and desserts.
3. Villa Manodori Balsamic-Essig
BEST FOR DESSERTS
The brainchild of Italian chef Massimo Bottura, Villa Manodori uses grapes that have been aged for 20 years - long enough for the balsamic vinegar to win the 2012 Sofi Award. The Trebbiano grapes mature in oak barrels and develop a tart taste with a thick consistency. Created for Chef Bottura to use in his own home, Villa Manodori can be used as a glaze for meats and vegetables or drizzled over ice cream and desserts. In addition to his award-winning balsamic vinegar, Bottura has also cooked at the White House and runs a three-star Michelin restaurant in Italy, so we drizzle Villa Manodori on just about everything.
4. Balsamic-Glasur Colavita
A balsamic glaze is slightly different from a balsamic vinegar due to its consistency (thicker) and flavor (sweeter). Like balsamic vinegar, a glaze can be used for drizzling, as a marinade, or in cooking. Colavita's balsamic glaze has a tart-sweet taste that goes well with fruit, vegetables, meat and pasta. It can be used as a side dish or during the cooking process to enhance the flavor of the dish.
5. Terra Verde Fig Balsamic Vinegar
Italy has been a leader in balsamic vinegar for thousands of years and while it is still the leader, customers are starting to expand their geographic search area. For example Terra Verde Fig Balsamic Vinegar. Crafted in Spring, Texas, Terra Verde begins with Di Modena's signature traditional Italian balsamic vinegar, then adds flavors of walnuts and currants from a fig. Terra Verde Balsamic Vinegar has an acidity of 4.2 percent, less than the typical 6 percent found at most competitors. Not only is this good news for customers with heartburn issues, but this lower acidity makes for a strong, smooth taste.
6. M.G. PAPPAS White Balsamic Vinegar
THE BEST WHITE BALSAMIC VINEGAR
White balsamic vinegar is a great option for foodies who want a milder flavor than traditional balsamic vinegar. White balsamic vinegar also starts with a must that is simmered for a longer period of time, but then cooked at a lower pressure and temperature, which prevents the grapes from caramelizing and turning dark. White Balsamic Vinegar by M.G. PAPPAS matures in barrels for 10 years. Because vinegar is free of artificial preservatives, flavors, and colorings, it's great for marinades and mixed drinks, and is a healthy ingredient in cooking.
7. Blazing Bella Balsamic-Essig
THE BEST FRUIT FLAVORS
If you're not sure which style of balsamic vinegar you prefer, we like Blazing Bella's tasting kit. A great housewarming gift, the set includes five 8.45 fl oz bottles including Traditional, Strawberry, Fig, Pineapple and White. Each flavor begins in Modena, Italy, where it is aged in chestnut, oak and juniper casks before being exported to the United States. Blazing Bella's makes its balsamic vinegar without the use of caramel or preservatives. The company also makes its own olive oil and offers customers helpful advice on pairing its products with each other and with different foods.
8. The Brightland couple
THE BEST NON-ITALIAN GRAPES
North American producers are increasingly competing with Italian balsamic vinegar manufacturers. One of the biggest success stories from the US is Brightland, a California-based winery that makes its own raw balsamic vinegar. The company has now launched Rapture, a double-fermented balsamic vinegar made from California Zinfandel grapes and blackberries, and Parasol, a champagne vinegar made from Chardonnay grapes and oranges. The company sells both vinegars separately, but we prefer to buy the strong fruit flavors together.
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