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Best ways to enjoy balsamic vinegar

I just received a gift of some expensive balsamic vinegar imported from Italy. I want to savor every drop. How best to enjoy it?

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  1. On strawberries or with chunks of parmesan cheese.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      With it being (obviously) December and strawberries aren't exactly in season, feel free to drizzle it on any ripe fruit. You want to stay away from citrus, I think but melons if you can find any good ones or pears are good substitutes. Ooo - just had a thought about some roasted beets. Try that too!

    2. Mixed to taste with brown sugar and black pepper, over cubed/sliced crisp apples.

      1. maybe thin slices of parmesan, on a cracker or thinly slice and maybe toasted italian bread, like a bruscetta. Strawberries! Yum.

        1. It never occurred to me to use balsamic vinegar on fruit-- strawberries, apples, parmesan cheese; it all sounds delish. Thanks for the ideas. Keep 'em coming!

          1 Reply
          1. re: dimsumgirl

            It's great with strawberries, but sweeten it a bit when you soak the strawberries (but only soak for about 2 hours before at most)- and top it off with marscarpone, yum!

          2. I like to just pour some in a cup and drink it straight. If the vinegar is good, it's really tasty this way.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Humbucker

              My husband would agree with you. He said if it costs $60 for 8 ounces, it should be as drinkable as a good port!

              1. re: dimsumgirl

                Your husband and mine must be twins :-)

              2. re: Humbucker

                I gotta know, when you pour it in a cup, how much are you pouring?

                I take my aged balsamic by the big drop or mini spoonful and am having a hard time imagining actually drinking that much intense flavour.

                1. re: orangewasabi

                  Just like a tablespoon or less, taking tiny sips. A good balsamic will be sweet and balanced, and shouldn't seem harsh at all when enjoyed straight. Sometimes I like to have little vinegar tastings will all the various wine vinegars we have in the kitchen. With even a good red wine vinegar, anything more than a than a few tiny sips starts to seem very chemical-y, but as I work my way from the cheap balsamics up to the better ones, I find I can drink more and more.

              3. A few precious drops on not too ripe sliced pears and thin shavings of peccorino.

                    1. re: Dommy

                      ... and garnish with some chopped pistachios!

                  1. drip some on the back of your han, between your index finger and your thumb. (where you put the salt for a tequila shooter)

                    then lick.

                    or, if that grosses you out, then pour a bit into a little spoon and savour.

                    1. Mixed into strained yogurt and chopped herbs to make a dip!

                      1. nothing beats balsamic vinegar w/ garden fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, buffalo mozzarella, sliced garlic, fresh basil & good olive oil...heaven!

                        1. Ditto on the strawberries...i like to put a little cracked pepper on as well and top with a bit of vanilla ice cream

                          1. I make a reduction with balsamic, a pinch of black pepper, and brown sugar and pour it warm over good vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. Seriously, you'll love it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jcanncuk

                              Do not cook with this vinegar - it's not for additions in reductions at this price. In fact, the reason you would reduce "regular" balsamic vinegar is to mimic the expensive stuff. This stuff is like a fine olive oil or some expensive salt, it's only for finishing a dish. It should pour from the bottle like a thin (or thick depending on it's age) maple syrup.

                            2. in addittion to drinking it, putting it on strawberries and icecream and everything else mentioned here -- i love a perfect tomato with just some sea salt and fresh cracked pepper with balsamic and some good olive oil. just a dash of each and the tomato comes fully alive.

                              this: http://gentlemangourmand.typepad.com/... was the best example of that dish that ive ever had

                              1. On a nice piece of seared foie gras.

                                1. Beef Tenderloin drizzled with BV..a few sauted onions..tasty!
                                  Perks up roasted potatoes
                                  Perks up roasted brussel sprouts

                                  totally agree on the strawberry/pear/good hard cheese suggestions

                                  and quality BV ..a little goes a long way, so enjoy!

                                  1. Hope I'm not repeating-I see ice cream, presumably vanilla-has been mentioned. I just got a little book from a BV maker-Acetaia del Christo--it's the right season, no?-it suggests slicing the strawberries, covering them with sugar, and letting stand in the fridge at least an hour, then pouring the BV just before serving.
                                    They also suggest finishing a veal (or pork or tukey) scallopini with BV, as well as using on the single servings.
                                    AND they have a suggestions for for grilled shrimps wrapped in (Colannata-?)bacon, served on a salad with aromatic herbs-such as pruselane, marjoram, golden cress, chervil, mint, savory, and dill. The salad should be dress with olive oil and salt, then the BV added at the end.
                                    Pears(4, not too ripe-peeled, cored, sliced) dandelion greens(2 handfuls), rocket salad(2 handfuls), mixed into salad, dressed with olive.oil and salt to taste and 4 teaspoons BV, then 150-200 grams raspberries, lightly crushed with a fork, added to the pear-salad, gently mix. They tell you to garnish with fresh borage and head lettuce flowers, whatever that may be.

                                    The book is courtesy of Giovanni Fantone, who has a very nice olive oil store in Berlin Germany.

                                    1. if it's the expensive stuff, please, please, please do not muck around with it. no boiling heat. no mixing with sugar. the must was produced with care and aged in aromatic wood, the scents of which we'd consider an absolute luxury; time has done enough. you just need to add it prudently to things that accentuate it.

                                      in its syrupy glory, it is excellent alone from the back of the hand, from the spoon, in a liqueur glass. just as good drizzled over berries, peaches, nectarines (especially roasted for hte latter two) if they are in season, roasted pears sprinkled with roasted chopped hazelnuts.

                                      everyone has the right idea with pairing it with a salty cheese like pecorino or parimigiano-reggiano (since parm and the vinegar hail from the same region, makes even more sense). and it is sublime with sweeter dairy like the gelato. Drizzle it lightly, a little goes a long way. Vanilla is always good. Hazelnut, better. Coffee gelato is an unexpected surprise. And it's truly remarkable discovering the complex similarities of chocolate (in a truffle, drizzled over gelato, or nibbled from a bar with an alternatve sip from glass) and balsamic.

                                      my mouth watered when someone mentioned seared foie gras with the stuff—it cuts the richness and complements it greatly. One of my favorite ways to savor it—a simple risotto, with massive amounts of grated parmigiano mounded a deep plate with a bit of balsamic drizzled around the side. a bite of creamy rice, a touch of balsamic. killer.

                                      1. When figs are in season, drizzle your aceto tradizionale over sliced fig halves topped with a small chunk of the best roquefort or gorgonzola you can find.

                                        1. Drizzled on avacados, sitting on a beach in the carribean.