100 year old Balsamic - worth it?
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!
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.
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).
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