Tuesday, August 5, 2008

AGED Balsamic Vinegar : A Tradition

One of the things on my list to do while visiting Italy was to purchase a bottle of aged balsamic vinegar . Mario Batali ( Molto Mario cooking show ) tells a story of his Grandmother's small bottle of aged balsamic vinegar . She recieved it as a wedding gift and now , some 50 years later she is deceased , yet there is some left in the bottle . Each year on her birthday , he enjoys a few drops of this precious liquid on fresh strawberries. This is a tradition I want to start in my family !

Research proved that if I visited the Mercato Centrale ( just a few blocks from our hotel , in the Piazza Mercato Centrale : lined with great places to eat !! ) I might find some gourmet foodsellers , and I did .
Bettina and I headed over early one morning to check it out , and after a capuccino( here , where the coffee is Robusta beans and very high in caffeine compared to Arabica , ONE CAPUCCINO IS ENOUGH ). We found a very nice young woman who spoke good English , selling wines and vinegars . The shop , Enoteca/Salumeria Lombardi is on the ground floor of the mercato , and she offered a tasting . Since we had to catch a bus that morning , we went back a few mornings later and tasted so many wonderful vinegars . From 5 , 10 and 12 year to a 35 year Reserva that was , well , expensive , our taste buds were entranced at the spicy , sweet , smoky nuances of the different vintages . .

Good ? WHOA!! I purchased a 20 year reserva in a lovely tall bottle ( pictured here ).
What fun giving tastes to friends and family who have no idea what to expect when you say aged vinegar !

I read somewhere that pomegranate molasses makes a good substitute for aged balsamic vinegar if you cannot get it . It sounds interesting in it's own right , I wanna check it out .

Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses is used primarily in Mediterranean cooking. It is also called pomegranate syrup, because of it's consistency. This is a 100% natural product of Lebanon. This is an unusual product, which we are still exploring.
We quote expert Paula Wolfert, a fine cookbook author: "Pomegranate molasses is an essential ingredient...has a wonderful flavor and a heady aroma, and its thickness and dark color make food look very appealing. It keeps almost indefinitely in the refrigerator. The uses for this thick, tangy, piquant syrup are many. It blends well with walnuts, adds a tart and pungent flavor to beans, sharpens the taste of poultry, gives a clean, tart taste to fish, gives an astringent edge to salads and vegetables, and is a great tenderizer for lamb and pork. It can also be diluted and used for sharp drinks and tart sorbets."
It can be used for sauces or diluted to make pomegranate drinks.
Sold by the bottle only.
Cuisines and Categories
Middle Eastern
Recipes with this Spice
Pomegranate Chicken
Portuguese-Salt Roasted Salmon

* Today I am wearing Profumi del Forte Marconi3 , a fabulous patchouli liquor like no patch I have ever smelled . It is a bit rich for summer , but I recieved the generous 4ml sample from Elisir , that fabulous Profumerie in Florence I mentioned before , and could not wait any longer to try it on skin . MMMM, not earthy or dirty really , kind of an elixir of rich muskiness...


Anonymous said...

I'm off to make some strawberries macerated in aged balsamic, topped with whipped cream and a crumble of ameretti cookie...mmmmm....

so what's your verdict on KikI?

Anonymous said...



I've got to try it. Where o where to