Who knew that I had been using balsamic vinegar all wrong. Turns out I’m not the only one. There’s an array of fake and watered down stuff flooding the market. That’s why most people don’t use the original and select the modern imitations.
Long story short, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is a condiment made by blending grape must that is cooked and/or concentrated with added wine vinegar of at least 10% and a quality 10 year old aged vinegar. The grape must is exclusively from Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Albana, Trebbiano, Ancellotta, Fortana, and Montuni vines. The vinegar is produced in the Italian provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
The Consortium of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena invited me to lunch to give us the 411 on the condiment. The luncheon was prepared by Chef Michael White at his restaurant, Osteria Morini, in New York City. He is a James Beard awarded chef and specializes in Italian cuisine.
The welcome cocktail was a Balsamic Negroni. Basically a Negroni with a few drops of balsamic vinegar. If you dig the cocktail, it’s a drink you will enjoy. It was interesting to see how a drop or two of balsamic takes it to another level. It’s also something that you can make at home.
After a selection of canapes, we got into the main dishes. We had a salad that was out of this world. The Rucola was Arugula Salad, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
Next we moved to Mezzaluna which was the Winter Squash Ravioli, Brown Butter, Sage, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
After that we slid into the Polletto. It was a show stopper of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Chicken Thigh and New Potato.
Last but not least, was the Cioccolato, think homemade gelato drizzled with chocolate and of course Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
By the time lunch was over, I had a whole new outlook on how I can use balsamic vinegar. Now that I’ve been shown the huge difference in taste, there’s no way that I can go back to the imitation. Besides, why use a fake when you can go for the original?!