View Full Version : Balsamic vinegar

8th Apr 2004, 02:11
Does anyone know what is actually used to make Balsamic vinegar? I just 'reduced' it in accordance with the recipe instructions, and the "1 tablespoon" that was left looked like treacle. Tasted good, tho'...

8th Apr 2004, 02:52
I think the must (yeast) on the grape skin is an essential ingredient to the mix. Been some time though since I read it. Wine vinegar with extra rotten grape skin! :sad:

8th Apr 2004, 03:13
Balsamic means 'like balsam’ - and balsam is an aromatic resin - balsamic vinegar simply refers to the fact that it is thick (resin like) and aromatic.

The unique and traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, Italy is made from the 'must' (unfermented juice) of mainly the Trebbiano grape, other grapes used are Lambrusco, Ancellotta, Sauvignon and Sgavetta. These 'musts' cannot have anything added. The must is then boiled down in open pots over a direct flame. The extract (concentrated juice) from this cooking is now a fruity syrup. At this point some 'mother' of vinegar can be added. ('Mother' is a stringy, slimy substance that forms on the surface of vinegar, composed of various yeast and bacteria [especially mycoderma aceti] that cause fermentation in wine and cider, and turn it into acetic acid - vinegar). It is then aged in barrels of different woods - first in one, then transferred to another etc. Each company has its own secret progression of wooden barrels usually including chestnut, ash tree, cherry, mulberry, juniper and oak. The finished vinegar must be at least 12 years old, and some is aged much longer. The finished vinegar is then presented to the DOC, a governing body similar to those that govern the quality of French and Italian wines. Balsamic vinegars without this designation on the label are usually unaged, aged for 6 months to a year in stainless steel tanks, or aged for 2 to 12 years in wooden barrels

The Nr Fairy
8th Apr 2004, 06:33
After a pissed night out once, myself and my wife returned home.

We had salt a plenty - but the only vinegar we had was the balsamic ! Lovely.

Boss Raptor
8th Apr 2004, 08:27
In the UK Aldi's supermarket do a 500ml bottle of perfectly good Balsamic for £1...yes u read it right...dont buy the titchy bottle for a fiver...use it on yr chips like i do :ok:

8th Apr 2004, 08:29
Ohhhh Boss, a man after me own heart!

Lovely on crisps too - am I pregnant? :D

8th Apr 2004, 08:38
Boss, It surely isn't Balsamic for that price, but since you like it what's the problem ;)

I have a good recipe with Balsamic:

Roast peppers a little and cut them in slices (you can follow the lobes)
Prepare a paste with:
-capers (if they are salted rinse it well first)
-anchovies (not too much of them)
-Balsamic vinegar
Spread it over the peppers

Ric Capucho
8th Apr 2004, 08:42
How to make perfect Italian dressing, the Italian way:

Take one bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, one bottle of modena balsamic vinegar, some salt and a black grinder. You'll need a salad too, but you knew that. Don't forget the fresh basil, white bread, and a white paper serviette.

1. Serve the salad onto yer plate.

2. Drizzle plenty of olive oil onto salad. Salad floats on oil, so don't go mad.

3. Tilt, tip, nudge some balsamic onto the puddle of olive oil until you can see a few round pools of vinegar embedded in it. Vinegar is rocket fuel, so a little modena-ration is in order. (groan).

4. Quick shake of salt over the lot.

5. Grind-grind-grind on the black pepper. Food without plenty fresh black pepper is not food at all.

6. Scoff the lot, looking at an Italian vista, beautiful enough to break your heart, whilst shouting into a mobile phone, and listening to crap Euro-trash rap music.

Tis the way the Italians do it.

Pre-mixing the dressing in a jar or cup is a clear sign of weakness. An Italian would have to emigrate to, er, America, if he or she was caught doing it. Italians are amazingly adept at tipping a few drops of modena vinegar out of a bottle, but Brits can learn this after a few adventures. If yer shove too much vinegar on, by accident, then dilute it with more olive oil.

A minor digression: As Spike Milligan said, all Italians who are not called Maria are married to a Maria.


8th Apr 2004, 09:00
Another nice salad dressing with balsamic vinegar :

chop one shallot very thinly and allow it to marinate in one spoonfull of balsamic vinegar for half an hour or so.
Proceed as usual for your dressing (I'm not the one starting another franco-italian war here ;) )
Nothing but olive oil of course.

Your recipe looks yummy (It's already cut and pasted, as I have 2 red peppers waiting in the fridge). :ok:
Just one minor point : how about a wee bit of garlic ?

Ric Capucho
8th Apr 2004, 09:08
We have a plastic onion slicer thingy, that slices them really really thin. We make a salad of sliced, good, fat, dark, beefy red tomatoes, and then shove some onion shavings on top. Sometimes a few garlic shavings too. Copious basil leaves, add a touch of colour, and bring it all to life.

And then the salad dressing, as stated above.

All is well, in the Capucho household, when tomato salad is served.

Oooooo, capers. We likes capers too. We have a jar of pickled Sicilian capers in the Kuhlschrank.


tony draper
8th Apr 2004, 09:18
Just had a look at the bottle in me cupboard, the label says, "Best Buy None Brewed Condiment" ,tiz good enough for me chips, and it didn't cost a quid.
One is a man of simple tastes.

Ric Capucho
8th Apr 2004, 09:21
Non-brewed? We wonder how they make it without brewing it. We're very suspicious of all non-brewed liquids. Few if any are fit for human consumption.


8th Apr 2004, 09:32
I understand that "non-brewed condiment" is made from acetic acid and brown colouring, probably shoe polish.

I seem to remember somewhere in the back of my mind it was a by-product of the coal mining industry, so it will put hairs on Drape's chest, or summat.

You're not allowed to put it on your chips in smoke-free zones and it's presumably imported from Eastern Europe these days....... :(

Don't worry Drapes, I'm sure some government expert, having spend millions on a study, will soon declare it safer than Balsamic vinegar. :ok:

8th Apr 2004, 21:00

I wouldn't use garlic, it's too aromatic on its own and would hardly mix well with the other flavours. I got the recipe from a chef in Italy, and I'm sure it's perfectly balanced the way it is. But you could always try on a single slice and see if you like it.

A little specification: in Italian dressing vinegar comes before oil, which has to be not only olive but extra virgin olive oil, the only pure olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil: is obtained exclusively by mechanical processes, and physical processes that don’t alter the product. The olives, aside from being washed, decanted, pressed and filtered, are not treated in any way. The acidity, expressed in terms of oleic acid, should not exceed 1% of the weight.

Virgin olive oil: is obtained like extra virgin oil, but it has a level of acidity of around 2%.

Olive oil: is obtained from a mixture of virgin olive oils and rectified olive oils (1), the acidity level of the mix shouldn’t exceed 1.5%.

Oil made from the remains of the pressed olives is obtained from a mixture of virgin olive oils and rectified crushed olives, the acidity of the mix shouldn’t exceed 1.5%

9th Apr 2004, 02:10
What is an extra virgin? I mean, you're either one or the other, aren't you?

And I'm not telling which I am...

9th Apr 2004, 02:59
Always thought extra virgin olive oil meant that the olive stomper had washed his feet.
A few of drops of balsamic vinegar on a bowl of fresh strawberries....hmmm...good.:ok:

9th Apr 2004, 12:38
What is an extra virgin? I mean, you're either one or the other, aren't you?

I'll tell you only if you prove me you are olive oil :rolleyes:

9th Apr 2004, 14:40
I think it's got something to do with a chastity belt.... ;)

The Invisible Cat
9th Apr 2004, 14:50
I'm not Olive Oyl but...

I'm Popeye the sailor man, toot toot !

10th Apr 2004, 10:18
I wonder how many prooners are good cooks? I certainly are not, perhaps we should have a recipe thread.

11th Apr 2004, 00:03
when time is short a teaspoon of balsamic given 20 secs in a microwave, cooled and mixed with any gravy granules will be extremely passable - but take care to not let the mushy peas get too dry or the effect is wasted

11th Apr 2004, 02:28
Balsamic vinegar on strawberries? Interesting, but I'll take mine on my favourite, "free range lettuce".:ok:

11th Apr 2004, 23:07
The part of Popeye that will never rust?

The part he dips in Olive Oyl.


12th Apr 2004, 01:06
A nice starter is a small dish with olive oil and a few drops of good Balsamic placed in the middle. Then dip slices of Italian bread or Baguette.