The Story Of Balsamic Vinegar


Balsamic vinegar is such a prolific staple ingredient in kitchens across the world today, it’s hard to imagine what we would do without it! Balsamic vinegar has a history as rich and layered as its flavour. This is a product steeped in tradition, aged to perfection, and guaranteed to elevate any dish.

The origin story of balsamic vinegar takes us back to mediaeval Italy, specifically the region around Modena. Legends claim it was first produced as early as the 11th century. Back then, it was seen as a precious commodity, often reserved for nobility and rarely consumed by common folk.

Over time, it became a more accessible ingredient for the masses and the people of Modena began to dilute the balsamic vinegar with a white wine vinegar for a lighter dressing. This distinct concoction became a classic addition to Italian cuisine, and eventually became established as a Protected Geographical Indication. 

The Art of Making Aged Balsamic Vinegar

The magic of balsamic vinegar lies in its production process. Unlike most vinegars, which are made from wine, true balsamic vinegar starts with grape must. This is the unfermented juice of grapes, freshly pressed and bursting with sweetness. The must is then cooked down to concentrate its sugars, before being aged in a series of wooden barrels, each one imparting its own unique flavour. Different types of wood like oak, juniper, mulberry, ash and chestnut, each kind bestowing its own character onto the vinegar. The wood barrel helps extract the acidity, and as time passes, it’s shifted to smaller barrels, giving it a thick and syrup-like consistency.

Traditional balsamic vinegar can be aged for decades, even centuries, resulting in a complex symphony of flavours – sweet, tart, with hints of wood, caramel, and even dried fruit. However, the general rule of thumb is that traditional Balsamic vinegar needs to be fermented for a minimum of 12 years. More premium Balsamic varieties are stored for over 50 years, resulting in a decadent and complex flavour profile.

Beyond the Drizzle: Creative Uses for Balsamic Vinegar

Italian balsamic vinegar is often seen as a finishing touch, a drizzle of perfection on salads, grilled meats, or even fresh fruit. But this versatile condiment can do so much more.

  • Glaze it up: Reduce balsamic vinegar in a pan until it thickens into a luscious glaze. Perfect for roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or even as a dipping sauce for bread.
  • Salad dressing extraordinaire: Combine balsamic vinegar with olive oil, a touch of Dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt for a simple yet flavorful salad dressing.
  • Marinade magic: Add balsamic vinegar to your next marinade for chicken, fish, or tofu. The acidity helps tenderise the protein and adds a depth of flavour.
  • Sweet and savoury: A splash of balsamic vinegar can surprisingly enhance sweet dishes like roasted strawberries or a dark chocolate sauce.


Food Delite’s Favourite Balsamic Vinegar Recommendations


iSolai’s Balsamic Vinegar (Modena IGP)

This balsamic vinegar is crafted with the utmost respect for nature, using biodynamically grown grapes as the first ingredient. Biodynamic farming goes beyond organic practices, focusing on fostering a healthy and balanced ecosystem within the vineyard. This results in grapes bursting with natural flavour and vitality, which translates into a superior vinegar.

This balsamic vinegar boasts a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, making it a versatile condiment for a variety of dishes. Its density of 1.15 and 6% acidity create a rich, complex flavour profile that will elevate your culinary creations.

Biodynamic farming goes beyond organic certification, ensuring the highest level of environmental responsibility and natural goodness. Make a conscious choice for your health and the planet with this exceptional biodynamic balsamic vinegar.

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Terra Del Tuono’s Balsamic Vinegar (Modena IGP)

Crafted using a time-honoured recipe, this balsamic vinegar is a harmonious blend of cooked and concentrated grape musts, sourced from local Modena grapes. A touch of high-quality wine vinegar is added for balance. The magic then unfolds as the vinegar ages slowly in oak barrels, allowing its character to mature and develop.This Yellow Label balsamic is just one of the many expressions of Terra Del Tuono’s dedication to balsamic excellence. 

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iSolai’s Balsamic Vinegar Aged 25+ Years  (Modena IGP)

Indulge in the pinnacle of balsamic vinegar with I Solai Extravecchio. Crafted over 25 years using time-honoured traditions, this exceptional product boasts a depth of flavour and aroma unlike any other. Born from meticulously selected grapes from Santacroce, the balsamic vinegar undergoes a gentle simmering process to concentrate its natural sugars. Aged in a succession of small, diverse wooden barrels, I Solai Extravecchio takes on a symphony of complex flavours and aromas. 

The resulting balsamic vinegar is a feast for the senses, boasting a dark brown colour, a captivatingly balanced aroma, and a perfect harmony of sweet, sour, and savoury notes that dance on the palate with a long-lasting finish. This is not just a condiment; it’s an experience waiting to be savoured. 

From drizzling over aged Parmesan cheese to complementing complex meat dishes or even enjoying a teaspoon as a luxurious after-dinner digestive, I Solai Extravecchio elevates your culinary creations and awakens all four primary taste sensations: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.

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We have handpicked each bottle of vinegar available at the Food Delite store, creating a wide selection of products with a range of prices and quality available, for your inner chef to experiment with and explore! So next time you reach for vinegar, consider the rich history and depth of flavour offered by aged balsamic vinegar. It’s a condiment that can transform your cooking and add a touch of Italian magic to your meals.


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