News of 29.11.23

Balsamic Vinegar: 3 amazing combinations


Balsamic Vinegar of Modena was born as an ingredient in traditional local cuisine but has now spread throughout the world, entering the eating habits of many people as a condiment and more.

It is above all in creative cuisine that Balsamic Vinegar has contributed to the creation of new imaginative combinations, mostly thanks to its varied bouquet of flavours and aromas.

Sweet and sour by nature, Balsamic Vinegar in its two variants - Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI - lends itself brilliantly to unexpected combinations with different foods, from cheeses, to meat, from vegetables to fish, from soups, to even fruit.
It is now known worldwide that even strawberries and ice cream match well with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar with a thick and syrupy consistency. However, not everyone imagines how far the experimentation of new combinations between the sweet and sour notes of Modena's most traditional condiment and the dishes of creative international cuisine can go.

Let's discover three uses of Balsamic Vinegar that perhaps you didn't know about.

In the pastry shop

It is already unusual that a condiment like vinegar can accompany fruit and ice cream, but going so far as to use it in the preparation of desserts is truly surprising.

Yet, there are many dessert recipes based on Balsamic Vinegar and a short online search is enough to find dozens of them. On the other hand, the aromatic characteristics of Balsamic combine with both savoury and sweet, so why not play with this characteristic?

Balsamic Vinegar can be used both as a topping for desserts and tarts or used together with sugar or honey in the preparation of a glaze with a special flavour to embellish desserts.

Additionally, you can use it to caramelize fruit for tarts and cheesecakes or for a delicious marinade of different fruits before cooking, including pears, cherries, apples or plums. For example, you can prepare an alternative variant of the famous "drunk pears", with a typically Emilian flavour. Even jams and marmalades become special with a balsamic touch!

The combination with salted caramel, another fascinating ingredient due to its contrasts in flavour, is also excellent. A few drops of Balsamic Vinegar in the caramel will sublime it, making it perfect as a topping for an unconventional panna cotta or creme caramel.

Finally, a few drops of Balsamic also enhances the flavour of a dark chocolate cake dough, with its acidic and fragrant notes matching well with the aroma of cocoa. And why not try other doughs too, for example those flavoured with vanilla or orange?

As you may have guessed by now, as long as you choose an authentic product with suitable characteristics, Balsamic Vinegar is so versatile that it can be used in desserts either raw (if dense and full-bodied like the Traditional), or as a base for icings and toppings, or as an ingredient in the dough of baked desserts.

If you want some more ideas, you can take a look at our recipes with Balsamic Vinegar.

In cocktails

Another area in which balsamic offers great creative opportunities is that of alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktails. Here again, dozens of creative recipes can be found online.

In some cases, the sweet and sour aroma of Balsamic can boost the mix of ingredients of the most famous cocktails such as Negroni and Americano, creating an alternative variant.

In others it is precisely from the flavour of Balsamic that completely new recipes come to life in which imagination reigns supreme. Just think about how many fruits pair divinely with Balsamic Vinegar to understand how many combinations can be created for a tasty non-alcoholic cocktail.

No bartender will be scandalized by the possibility of giving roundness to the flavour of their creations thanks to Balsamic. After all, the use of vinegar in drinks is anything but a new custom if you think about shrubs, acidulated syrups made with citrus peel, juice, sugar and vinegar, used for the preparation of cocktails. Shrub was a popular soft drink during the American colonial era, made by mixing a vinegar syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term comes from the Arabic sharab, which means drink, as it is inspired by ancient Middle Eastern infusions.

The use of vinegar to replace citrus fruits is back in fashion in the world of cocktails and there are more and more famous recipes for Balsamic cocktails, such as the Balsamic Spritz, of which there are different versions. The choice of your favourite is yours!

In ethnic cuisine

The third area in which we propose to introduce Balsamic Vinegar today to create surprising new combinations is that of ethnic cuisine. The characteristic sweet and sour notes of Balsamic are in fact reminiscent of those of some typical ingredients of other culinary traditions, first of all soy sauce.

There are many fermented products and sauces that we find in different cuisines around the world and since the 1990s there has also been a word indicating the flavour of many of them: umami. This Japanese term - also referred to as "the fifth flavour" - is indicated as one of the fundamental tastes perceived by the receptor cells of the human oral cavity, in particular those that respond to glutamates. Translated into English, umami means “tasty” or “delicious”. Some umami foods? The cheese, the tomatoes, the soy sauce and, it is said, the Balsamic Vinegar.

Due to its characteristics, Balsamic Vinegar can be used in the kitchen in preparations that would require the use of soy sauce: a secret ingredient for a fabulous fusion style sushi, it is also perfect for marinating meat or fish to be grilled, for example for an alternative tataki tuna or an Emilian-style chicken teriaki.

And why not also combine it with other spicier oriental dishes, such as those of Indian cuisine? In this case as well, the acidic and sweet notes of Balsamic can balance the strong flavour of the spices. An idea? Vindaloo pork, a typical Indian recipe based on pork marinated in water and vinegar, then seasoned with onion, garlic, ginger, and spices, can also be made in a "balsamic" version, as can be the marinade of Indian tandoori chicken.

These are just some of the thousand potentials of Balsamic, just don't be intimidated by traditional origins and open your mind to the possibility of experimenting with new flavours and combinations. You will discover that Balsamic Vinegar is the most modern ancient product!

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