Balsamic vinegar (Italian: aceto balsamico) is a condiment originating from Italy.
The original traditional product, made from a reduction of cooked white Trebbiano grape juice and not a vinegar in the usual sense, has been made in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages: the production of the balsamic vinegar is mentioned in a document dated 1046. During the Renaissance, it was appreciated in the House of Este. Today, the traditional balsamic vinegar is highly valued by chefs and gourmet food lovers.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena), an inexpensive modern imitation of the traditional product, is today widely available and much better known. This is the kind commonly used for salad dressing together with oil.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically, Trebbiano grapes) boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavours. The flavour intensifies over the years, with the vinegar being stored in wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentrated.
Balsamic vinegar is used in salad dressings, dips, marinades, reductions and sauces.
A version of Balsamic vinegar that is made with white wine vinegar and grape must (fresh pressed juice with seeds and skins).
Traditional balsamic vinegar is made with red wine vinegar, thus providing a deep reddish color which may add a undesirable tint to the food being dressed. The white variety is often used when the color of white sauces or foods will be adversely affected by the dark brown color of traditional balsamic vinegar.
White balsamic vinegar is milder and less sweet than regular Balsamic vinegar and is often considered more suitable for use with salad dressings, since it does not have a strong flavor that can be overpowering when used on salad greens.
Any vinegar that’s made from wine and then aged can be called balsamic. Used in marinades, dressings, and fruit-based desserts, balsamic vinegar is generally darker, thicker, sweeter, and more complex than red or white wine vinegar.
Highly prized Italian tradizionale (“traditional”) balsamics are aged for a minimum of 12 years in oak barrels. Syrupy, highly concentrated, and expensive, they are best reserved for undiluted uses; splash a few drops on vegetables or ice cream to appreciate their pure, intense flavor.
White Balsamic Vinegar comes in light colour whereas the Dark Balsamic Vinegar comes in thick colours.
The Dark Balsamic Vinegar is considered to be the real balsamic.
Unlike White Balsamic Vinegar, the Dark Balsamic Vinegar has a tradition. It has been in use since Middle Ages. Some people even do not consider White balsamic vinegar as balsamic vinegar.
Dark Balsamic Vinegar is more aged.
The Dark Balsamic Vinegar is priced higher than the White balsamic vinegar.
In case of ageing, the dark balsamic vinegar is aged in charred barrels. On the other hand, the White balsamic vinegar iIs not aged in charred barrels