It is not surprising that vinegar was discovered by accident if history is to be believed; the history of vinegar is rather sketchy but is believed that is was discovered by the Ancient Greeks when their wine accidentally turned to vinegar and it was considered a disaster. After many centuries we can now say that it was no disaster as vinegar is used in most households around the world for health, taste or home benefits.
Balsamic Vinegar originates from Italy and began its popularity amongst the small towns of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Since the middle ages barrels of balsamic vinegar were stored in lofts where they were allowed to ferment over the years. The change of seasons from warmer to cooler months allowed the balsamic vinegar to gradually evaporate and become concentrated in flavour.
The basic ingredient of balsamic vinegar is grape which is fermented to produce alcohol. A bacteria culture is then added to produce the acidic vinegar. This process of fermentation can take up to 3 years. To get it to maturity to what we get in product on the shelf can take up to 12 years.
There are a variety of balsamic vinegars available on the market, some infused with spices to add a variety of delicious flavours. True believers of balsamic vinegar say that for proper balsamic vinegar to be excellent it has to be expensive. One should not necessarily believe that, we must rather taste each brand and blend and make the decision for ourselves. Each make will have a different thickness, texture and flavour, so check the label for details.
Uses for Balsamic vinegar
- Serve as a dip with olive oil for bread, see our yummy olive ciabatta recipe.
- Salad dressing, drizzling balsamic vinegar and olive oil over green salad, this will bring out the flavours of the raw salad ingredients.
- It enriches sauces and gravies, add a splash and you will notice the difference.
- Adding it to a cocktail can give a surprising kick
- Brush it over your meat and it will glaze beautifully.
- It goes extremely well with some fruits, try our mixed berry sauce, it’s really good!
Balsamic vinegar really is a taste sensation that can change the way you eat. Give it a try on different foods and explore. You never know what striking combination you might discover.