First a little history on balsamic vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar is a condiment originating from Italy. Traditional balsamic vinegar is a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is then aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks made from different woods like chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash, and, in the past, juniper.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and has a complex flavour that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks.
Balsamic vinegar is considered highly valued by chefs and gourmet food lovers. Balsamic vinegar are graded from 12, 18 & 25 years, like wine the older the balsamic the best flavor it will have.
Most commercial grade balsamic found at your local market is most likely made of wine vinegar with colouring, caramel and sometimes thickeners like guar gum or cornflour to artificially simulate the sweetness and thickness of the aged Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. There is no aging process involved, and hundreds of thousands of litres can be produced every day.
That doesn’t mean if you buy balsamic vinegar from a vineyard or independent producer that it isn’t real balsamic, it is and made from a blend of grapes. What’s sold in market’s who really knows???
Making a balsamic reduction is as easy as making simple syrup, just follow the step, don’t leave the stove cause it only takes a minute to burn leaving an unpleasant taste.
Tools & Ingredients you will need:
Sugar, Best to use turbinado sugar to taste
Balsamic vinegar comes in several different grades, determined by age and quality. It can taste a little bitter, but putting it through the reduction process can sweeten it up for a tasty sauce. Drizzle on goat cheese and crostini, over salads, meat, fish, and even ice cream!
Yes!! Ice cream and fresh berries.
Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Remember the sauce will reduce by half during the cooking process.
Turn burner to high heat.
During and throughout the boiling process whisk briskly to prevent burning, or scorching, as this will leave your reduction with a bitter taste.
Sprinkle turbinado sugar to the vinegar reduction. Turnbinado is often used as a fancy sugar on top of baked goods as it does not burn or scotch easily. During the reduction process vinegar does naturally sweetens, so add sugar to taste.
Reduce by half, or until the vinegar takes on a syrup like glaze.
Allow to cool and serve……