Balsamic Vinegar


Balsamic Vinegar is a thick, tangy liquid with a sweet aroma made by fermenting sweet wine grapes and then aging the fermented liquid in wooden barrels. The most common varieties of grapes used include Sauvignon, Trebbiano, and Lumbrusco. The wood in which the Balsamic Vinegar is aged also adds flavor and character; the mostly commonly used types of wood include oak, cherry and chestnut. The aging process can last from 6 months to many years, depending on the manufacturer and quality of the finished product.

Balsamic Vinegar is used in cooking to marinate meats or make salad dressings like Balsamic Vinaigrette; it is also used in Italian desserts.


Translations: Balzamiko etiķis, Balzamiko acto, Otetul balsamic, Balsamico, Dấm Balsamic, Ocet balsamiczny, Balsamico Azijn, Balsamic सिरका, Vinagre Balsâmico, Бальзамический уксус, Βαλσάμικο ξύδι, خل البلسم, 향식초예요, Octem balsamico, Balsamic suka, 香醋, Vinagre Balsàmic, Balzamični kis, Octe balsamico, Aceto Balsamico, חומץ בלסמי, Balsamvinäger, Балзамико сирће, バルサミコ酢, Vinaigre Balsamique, Balsamico-Essig, Balsamico Eddike, Balsamicoeddik, Vinagre Balsámico, Бальзамічний оцет, Balsamiviinietikka, Балсамов оцет

Physical Description

True balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes.The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks are made of different woods like chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash, and, in the past, juniper. True 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.

Colors: dark brown

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet, bitter
Mouthfeel: Smoothe, Earthy, Sharp, Acidic
Food complements: Bacon radicchio, Endive, Tomatoes, Basil, Mangoes, Strawberries, Peaches, Raspberry
Wine complements: Zinfandel, Blended red wine, Merlot
Beverage complements: Tea, Ginger ale
Substitutes: Fig compote, White balsamic vigegar, Blackberry vinegar, Pomegranite vinegar, Fig vinegar, Port wine reduction

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Authentic traditional artisan balsamic vinegar, the only kind that may legally be described as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale.
Commercial grade balsamic vinegars produced on an industrial scale.
Condimento grade products, which are often a mix of the two above.
Buying: The commercial grade balsamic vinegars are available in most grocery stores and are often a blend of wine vinegar and the balsamic must. Prices vary greatly and typically you pay for what you get. Don't be fooled by the labels either. If you are looking at a bottle saying it is 25 year barrel-aged balsamic vinegar, most likely it is mostly wine vinegar blended with a small amount of the 25 year must and caramel syrup, which makes it thick and sweet. If you want the real Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, you need to go to a gourmet specialty store and look for the authentication stamped band on the cork. Many specialty stores, like Oil & Vinegar, will allow you to taste the product and provide advice when you purchase.
Procuring: 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. During this period, a proportion evaporates: it is said that this is the "angels' share," a term also used in the production of scotch whisky, wine, and other alcoholic beverages.

Preparation and Use

Commercial grade balsamic vinegar is used in salad dressings, dips, marinades, reductions and sauces.
In Emilia-Romagna, tradizionale vinegar is most often served in drops on top of chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano and Mortadella as an antipasto. It is also used sparingly to enhance steaks, eggs or grilled fish, as well as on fresh fruit such as strawberries and pears and on plain Crema (custard) gelato.

Conserving and Storing

Balsamic Vinegar lasts long even after you open the bottle. Oxygen will not cause deterioration, but store it in a cool and dark place, away from heat.

Related Cooking Videos


Madelaine Kirchlechner's picture

How much should Itake for my blood circulation. I take early inthe morning 2 tablespoond of apple coider vinegar . 1 tablespoon of honey and mix with soda water . Pls advise if this is correct Thanks for all your help.God bless and warmest regards :