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Feb 8, 2006 01:17 PM

100 year old Balsamic - worth it?

  • s

I love balsamic vinegar. The oldest bottle I've owned has been 12 years old. The local gourmet shop in town is selling 100 year old balsamic for over $150. I am intringued. Has anyone sampled vinegar this old? I imagine it's got to be like syrup. And the big question - is it worth the cost? Thanks for any input!

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  1. It is my understanding that balsamic that precious is used primarily a few DROPS at a time as a flavoring in sauces. Find some recipes that sound good to you if you don't have any. Then go for it and of course let us know the results!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sel

      On the contrary, expensive aged balsamics should probably not be used in cooking because a lot of their flavor and depth will get killed by the heat. They are meant to be used as a finisher on top of foods/desserts, or even sipped by itself.

    2. I have not tasted really aged balsamics, but I have heard they are sweet and complex. You could sip them like a port.

      On my recent trip to Florence, Italy, a specialty shop had a bunch of balsamics. The 100 yr-old bottle was 440 Euro! So, depending on the size of the 100-yr stuff you found, it sounds like a good deal. Maybe you should try some 25 and 50 year stuff before jumping all the way up to 100.

      Also, mail order/internet stores may have a bigger selection and better prices.

      1. I had some once that I think was 30 years old (or 50?), served over vanilla ice cream with strawberries, and it was one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. I can still taste it in my mind.

        1 Reply
        1. re: coll

          Ugh - just what I was afraid of - that it would probably be REALLY good! :) Thanks for the feedback - I will need to do a little research, but I just received some bday money so it might be a nice treat to get some old vinegar. Only this board would understand such a purchase!

        2. I bought a 50 year old bottle for my husband as part of his Christmas gift - it's rather amazing but not something to waste on salad dressings, or haphazardly poured into a recipe. It came with a tiny glass to drink out of - which is what he's been enjoying. I also have been drizzling it over meats, veggies, etc. in tiny amounts.

          I did try it once as a salad dressing, but it really just couldn't stand up to it in the sense that it didn't "spread" out enough as part of the emulsion - wanting to sit itself apart from the oil somewhat. Basically it just was sliding off the greens and it got wasted at the bottom of the dish (although a nice crusty piece of bread took care of that).


          1. If you like balsamic, it is well worth it. for the last 3 years I've been fortunate to receive bottles of balsamic for christmas, a red label - which I believe is over 25 years old, a silver, i think over 50 years, and this year, and this year a bottle over 100 years old, it was made in 1855.

            The balsamic gets syrupier as it ages, and the flavors change. The one I got this past year is great if you put a few drops on ice cream, strawberries or on shavings of parmesano reggiano. You wouldn't use it in a recipe, the flavor would get lost. I have also dipped fresh asparagus tips in it and it is terrific.

            Corti Brothers has good prices