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Apr 24, 2007 01:14 PM

Recs for a good Balsamic Vinegar?

I'm looking for a good balsamic, available in one of our local, specialty shops. East Bay preferred, but SF is OK. It doesn't have to be produced locally. I've tried Bariani, which is fine, but there must be something better. I know truly great balsamic is $$$$, but I'd prefer to not pay more than $50 for a 350 ml bottle. Is that price point realistic? Any suggestions? Where to find it and pricing info would be helpful. Thanks!

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  1. I have a number of balsamics, those under 50 are from the Pasta Shop in Market Hall( College) 250 ml. The ones I bought there are by Caradini, from Modena. I have the Europa and the Primavera. One is only 6 years old, the other is 10.

    1. The Apple Farm/Bates & Schmitt at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers market makes the most wonderful apple balsalmic vinegar. From the website ...

      250 ML bottle, $16.00; 500 ML bottle, $30.00
      Probably our most successful invention. A blend of our best aged vinegar and our cider syrup, it is not a traditional balsamic, but it has so many similarities that it seems to be the best description. Add to vinaigrettes and sauces, great for deglazing and drizzled over all manner of foods.

      At one time they had an aged apple balsamic vinegar that was out of this world crazy-good. When I run out of the vinegar, it is one of my reasons to go to Ferry Plaza. Love that stuff.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        That's wonderful stuff and I always have some on hand, but it's not a good substitute for traditional balsamic aceto / salsa / condimento.

        I've got an good inexpensive one that Corby Kummer recommended, have to look for it in the cubpoard.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Cavalli Balsamic Condimento. $42 for 500ml online, maybe cheaper locally.

      2. I like Stonehouse, at the Ferry Building in SF. It has a very dark, almost syrupy taste. Might be a little sweet for some tastes, but you could definitely go and try some. I think it was $12 for a 500 ml bottle.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brangwen

          If you have to cross the Bay Bridge here is a short cut. Parking even though it's tough
          doesn't cost minimum 25 cents for 71/2 minutes.

          Store Locations:
          1717 4th St., Berkeley, CA 94710 -- (510) 524-1400 - Winter Hours: Mon & Fri 12-5; Sat & Sun 11-5. Closed Tues-Thurs

        2. I have a very inexpensive one from TJ's that is quite good. Even my Italian relatives ask us to send it to them, they like it so much. I forget what its called, but its in a small, square bottle with a red (I think) label and gold foil top (around the cork).

          1 Reply
          1. re: chemchef

            I agree with the TJ's recommendation. Its the best Balsamic I've ever purchased. I buy them 3 or 4 at a time, in case they decide to stop carrying them :)

            Here is a link to a picture of the bottle.

          2. I've tried Balsamics from the $$$$, 80-year aged and down from there. Shockingly, the best I've found for the price is from O&Co. on Fillmore. Less than $40, if memory serves.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Carrie 218

              Carrie, I was just going to mention O&Co. It's been awhile since I bought the balsamic there, but I remember it being maybe $32? I know it was less than their oils, which range from $32 to $42 per can. I consider the balsalmic at O&Co. a nice everyday balsalmic.

              1. re: singleguychef

                You are probably right, Single Guy. On my last purchase, I bought the Balsamic and a small jar of Moutarde de Violet and remember spending something under $50. Considering the TINY jar of mustard was $9.00, $32 for the vinegar makes sense.

                Unrelated rant - why, oh why, can't I find a decent Moutarde de Violet anywhere? It costs as much to mail order as it does to buy it.

                  1. re: Carrie 218

                    They have a few different vinegars. Is this the one you are both talking about?


                    1. re: Morton the Mousse

                      Morton, I actually didn't try that premium balsamic you found on the site. I guess I must have been mistaken when I was trying to recall the price because this is the one I actually bought: Like I said, it's an everyday balsalmic, so actually it's a lot cheaper than the premium one you listed. Now that I remember the price, I'm going to get me some because it's a good value balsamic.

                      Bevilacqua, O&Co. is a olive oil store chain that also owns L'Occitane. It used to be called Olivier & Co. but they shortened it to O&Co. They opened their first store on Fillmore (north of California) and subsequently opened a second store/restaurant in the Marina. You can also find O&Co. products in the L'Occitane store in the Embarcadero. I love their products because they're all high-quality premium oils from Europe, mostly Italian and French with a few Spanish and unusual ones from Portugal or Israel. It's fun to explore, but pricey.

                      1. re: singleguychef

                        Wow - I had no idea they were owned by L'Occitane... Very cool info, Single Guy!

                        1. re: Carrie 218

                          yea, that's why you'll sometimes see co-branded products in their stores. Like L'Occitane might sell olive oil hand cream, and like I said in the Embarcadero L'Occitane they sell a large variety of O&Co. food products.

                            1. re: Morton the Mousse

                              I'm buying the $32 balsamic. It truly is amazing for the price (against $100+ bottles I've tasted).

                              1. re: Carrie 218

                                That's the way I feel too. I had to carefully drizzle from an almost empty bottle a few nights ago because I hadn't realized we were almost out, and while we have other balsamics in the house, this one is absolutely my favorite.