The Champagne of Vinegars

Balsamic vinegar adds a rich, sweet and pungent taste that will enhance the fullness of a dish’s flavor – even when used sparingly. True balsamic vinegar is made primarily in the region of Emilia-Reggiano in Italy, specifically in Modena and Reggio Emilia. It is similar to wine in the way it is produced. Grapes are chosen and pressed, cooked and stored in casks to age. The final flavor depends on the timing of the transfer of the vinegar to ever smaller barrels, and the wood from which the barrels are made. The finest and most traditional balsamic vinegar is very labor intensive to produce: while it ages and gradually evaporates, the liquid is transferred to successively smaller casks made of different woods, absorbing the flavor characteristics of each wood. The most commonly used woods are oak, mulberry, chestnut, cherry, juniper, ash and acacia. During this period, the portion that evaporates is said to be “the angels’ share”, a term also used in the production of scotch, whiskey, wine and other alcoholic beverages.

Great balsamic vinegars are distinguished by rich aromas, full-bodied flavors and a sophisticated, well-structured taste. It is dark and thick with a complex but sweet taste. Balsamic vinegar is best stored in a cool, dark place, although it is fairly stable, and once bottled will retain its flavor well.

Delco Foods prides itself on an excellent line of balsamic vinegars and dressings. Each item is an ideal candidate for salad dressings, slow-cooked sauces and marinades. The 12 and 25 year old balsamic vinegars are delightful when drizzled on poached or broiled fish, rich chocolate cakes, ice cream and Parmigiano Reggiano.

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