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Working with food can be really hard for someone who isn’t really well-versed in how to use ingredients other than salt and pepper. Once you start introducing something as exotic as balsamic vinegar, you might be asking for trouble.
Balsamic vinegar is highly regarded around the world for its amazing flavor, but it is the laborious process by which it is made that really makes people truly see this veritable flavor bomb as manna from Heaven. Talk to true aficionados of aged balsamic vinegar, and you begin to understand why it’s so highly regarded. A little goes a long way, and in a day and age when we are bombarded with images of bigger meals and serving sizes with hundreds of ingredients, having an ingredient that does its best work in moderation is a welcome change of pace.
Balsamic vinegar is not acrid or bitter. It is sweet & sumptuous, and it elevates foods to new levels of deliciousness. The process of making balsamic vinegar is labor-intensive & requires great attention to everything from choosing the right ingredients to how it is aged. In many respects, it's best to think of it being very similar to the production and aging of a fine wine. But where wine can be paired with a meal to make it complete, good aged balsamic vinegar can transform a meal.
For those who are just now stepping into this exotic world of flavor, you may be wondering how best to use this elixir. Rather than scour the internet looking for just the right application, here are a few unique ways to use this beautiful product that might surprise you:
Reductions — Chefs know that when you want to 'amp' up the flavor of a liquid, you can reduce it over heat so that it concentrates all of the flavors. This reduction of liquid creates a syrupy substance that can be worth its weight in gold. You can put it on just about anything, and it will be awesome.
Soda Alternative — At a time when we’re learning just how harmful the consumption of sugar can be, eliminating traditional soft drinks from our diets is a good first step. However, if you’re looking for an alternative, try combining a shot of aged balsamic with some soda water to make a very unique carbonated drink.
Desserts — Since you're buying a top-quality product in balsamic vinegar, pair your aged balsamic with some top-tier vanilla ice cream. It's a simple dessert that will pack a massive punch in flavor for you & your guests. Well, mostly just for you.
Now, it must be noted that foodies the world over will tell you that using true aged balsamic vinegar in any format where the flavor is either being cooked down, out, or amplified is akin to blasphemy. In their minds, there is no reason to improve on the flavor because the preparation process, with a history dating back at least 1,000 years, has been perfected to impart all you need in terms of flavor. But when you've got such a great weapon in your culinary arsenal, why wouldn't you want to shake things up a bit to get the most out of it?