When we think about the word vinegar, the first thing that comes in mind is a salad. Except that if this vinegar is the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, so this Is another story.
BALSAMIC vinegar of Modena is very versatile and due to its distinctive sweet-and-sour taste, it is suitable for a variety of used in the kitchen.
Famous chefs around the world know it well, in fact they have learnt the best ways to use it in their most original culinary creations. Of course, the people from Emilia Romagna know it very well too, because they traditionally use the " good Balsamic" in ways that other people would not expect: 2 drops of thick and dark extra vecchio vinegar are enough to create a gourmet appetizer with simple parmigiano shavings or a refined spring dessert with ripe strawberries.
To understand Better the versatility of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, you should keep in mind that it is not like any other vinegar.
First, when we talk about Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, we refer to 2 different products with 2 different production processes: Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP and Balsamic vinegar of Modena IGP.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP is made exclusivity of cooked grape must, aged no less than 12 years in barrels of various wood types, resulting in a thick syrupy texture, dark brown to almost black colour, an intense sweet and sour taste with powerful and penetrating woody notes that may vary slightly between batches. This vinegar can also be aged for minimum 25 years in wood barrels so that to obtain the Extra Vecchio denomination, and its intensity makes it a precious ingredient which will leave you speechless at first taste.
It is produced with cooked grape must added with a certain amount of wine vinegar aged for minimum 10 years. It Is then aged in wood barrels for at least 60 days. The visual aspect of this product is different from that of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP, clearer in the appearance and more acidic in the flavour.
Both types of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena offer a wide variety of uses, especially as a final touch thanks to their aromatic qualities. Both pair perfectly with vegetables, but the IGP is more suitable for salads and crudités, mostly because a more acidic taste is preferred with this kind of food. However, a DOP traditional Balsamic Vinegar may e preferred for its intensity to create unexpected mixes. Try for example to dress some citrus fruits with olive oil, Balsamic, salt and pepper. Both are also recommended on boiled or grilled vegetables, and on mushrooms.
The Emilian tradition teaches that Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is the key ingredient to provide a personal final touch to first courses, especially based on fresh pasta. In Modena, the classic Tortelloni filled with ricotta cheese are traditionally topped with fried bacon cubes, parmesan cheese and a generous amount of balsamic, to rinse away the fat… Many other examples of pasta dishes, risotto and soups foresee the Balsamic vinegar finishing and the combinations are limitless, just like the chef’s fantasy!
Another perfect match is with red meat, poultry, and seafood. The “cold” use is preferred to keep the flavours intact, although a young balsamic will be prefect to make sauces, to deglaze and to prepare delicious marinades.
A high-quality Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is a must on boiled or grilled meat or seafood. Its secret is its richness of taste without providing many calories. Simple yet very complex so it does not require big quantities.
Thanks to this incredible feature, only a few drops are necessary to sublime even a simple appetizer of Parmesan Cheese aged 24 months. Not only Parmigiano Reggiano but any soft or aged or blue cheese will pair perfectly with Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, actually Balsamic and cheese (Italian or international) is the perfect association of tastes.
Finally, do not miss the experience of pairing Balsamic vinegar with desserts and fresh fruit. Far from the common vinegar, the aged balsamic with its creamy texture pairs very well on top of Crem caramel, panna cotta, ice cream, cheesecake, frozen yoghurt, custard, strawberries with whip cream, and fruit mix! Once you try it with sweet food, you cannot stop!
Last but not least. Did you know than Balsamic vinegar may also be used as ingredient for long drinks and cocktails? Either a few drops in milkshakes, smoothies or fruit juice or even alcoholic cocktails may be enriched with Balsamic to reinvent the classics of modern mixology!
It seems that the potentialities of Balsamic vinegar are limitless and there is no limitation to pairing experiments. Balsamic vinegar is surely linked to the tradition but at the same time it offers infinite combinations due to its inimitable sensorial properties. We can only advise to optimise the dosage and adjust it to the dish you wish to sublime: an Extra Vecchio Acetaia Leonardi Balsamico must be used reverently drop by drop! Anyway, a few drops are enough to transform a simple dish into a masterpiece!
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