HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
What's your latest food quest? Tell us about it

Aged balsamic vinegar?

Iateitup May 9, 2008 11:17 PM

I recently tasted some excellent 18 year old balsamic vinegar, it was extremely flavorable. Anyone have any recommendations on where to purchase a similar aged or older balsamic (for a reasonable price)?

  1. ipsedixit May 9, 2008 11:43 PM

    Porta Via in Pasadena

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit
      trojans May 9, 2008 11:44 PM

      Surfas in Culver City has a large selection of BV

    2. q
      QualityMart May 10, 2008 12:11 AM

      Bay Cities Deli has a good selection.

      You know you're getting the real stuff if you see it locked in a case.

      The ONLY true aged balsamic vinegar is that which is certified as "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena". (Or potentially "... di Reggio Emilia".) Google for more info, or here's a link:


      Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena is insanely good if you are prepared to spend for it. There is not a single producer of it, but they all come in the same shaped bottle and seal that is controlled by the balsamic vinegar authority. (Yes, there is a balsamic vinegar ruling authority!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: QualityMart
        Jack Flash May 11, 2008 09:26 AM

        Aceto Balsamico di Modena (not Tradizionale) comes in many different bottles (mine's a tall one, with a wood-topped cork stopper); the Tradizionale is the one whose regulations also cover the bottle.

      2. f
        fdb May 10, 2008 12:18 AM

        Guidi Marcello in Santa Monica has very good bv, including a 100 year old. Ask for a taste when you go. It's amazing.


        1. Foodandwine May 10, 2008 04:02 AM

          Actually I like the Trader Joes "Balsamic Vinegar of Modena" About $4.00 for 250ml. Back of Bottle says its aged for 10 years..

          2 Replies
          1. re: Foodandwine
            Frommtron May 10, 2008 08:27 AM

            Not to be snooty, but QualityMart above is right to draw the distinction between what we generally think of as balsamic vinegar and "the real stuff".

            There truly is no comparison. The real stuff is an almost syrupy condiment that's sweet and complex. It's staggeringly expensive even in Italy when the dollar is strong and it would never be used for something like a vinaigrette dressing. I've only ever seen it lightly drizzled on things.

            The stuff we generally find labelled for domestic sale falls in line more with what we know as vinegar. It's very sour and we tend to cut that with oil in a dressing or use it sparingly to deglaze a pan or something. It's actually affordable which is nice but it's totally different.

            I'm not sure which type the OP had but I'll second Bay Citites. The stuff is just expensive though and there's no way around it.

            If you want to mimic the flavor and consistency of the real stuff then you can take a bottle of decent balsamic vinegar and reduce it to a syrup. It will have the wonderful sweetness of the balsamico but it won't have anywhere near the complexity and delicacy. It's still pretty good though. That way you can spend the $4 on the Trader Joe's stuff and still get a facsimile of the good stuff.

            1. re: Frommtron
              bulavinaka May 10, 2008 09:08 AM

              TJ's does occasionally carry the balsamic vinegar in its syrupy form. It doesn't quite resemble the "real" stuff - tastes of raisins and other fruit with a somewhat syrupy sweetness - but it will do. It's actually quite good straight on a spinach salad with pecans and blue cheese. Salt and pepper to taste...

          2. o
            Obessed May 10, 2008 09:05 AM

            I recently bought some aged balsamic at O&CO in Century City mall. It was around $30 for a decent size bottle - which is cheaper than other kinds I've bought at Surfas.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Obessed
              condiment May 10, 2008 01:37 PM

              If it was $30, it wasn't the real stuff.

              For a decent compromise, Villa Manodori is an excellent product if not DOC, is organic, and goes for $34 or so at Surfas, etc. The real balsamico is unbelievably precious - best prices are probably mail order from Zingerman's.

            2. m
              mocro May 10, 2008 04:31 PM

              Now I feel better. We are recently back from Italy and we bought a small bottle of balsamic at Verrazzano winery for 65 Euros. Yikes! But it was syrupy and rich and I didn't think I'd ever forgive myself if I didn't buy. I'm saving it for a special dinner for just my husband and I. Maybe just out of a spoon!

              2 Replies
              1. re: mocro
                Frommtron May 10, 2008 04:54 PM

                Sound lovely. I love it drizzled over strawberries. The only caveat is that you need to dry the strawberries off very well of you'll just dilute the balsamic. I also think it pairs perfectly with burrata. Just amazing. Enjoy it!

                1. re: mocro
                  Das Ubergeek May 11, 2008 09:10 PM

                  That's about the right price, actually, and I love it drizzled over a cut tart apple with some freshly-ground black pepper. Just maybe a half a teaspoon or so drizzled carefully on the apple.

                2. a
                  aliris May 12, 2008 06:28 AM

                  Surfas. They carried a 50 year vinegar a few years ago (gave it as a 50 yo bday present). Not positive if it's still there but I think so....

                  Surfas Restaurant & Supply
                  8777 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                  Show Hidden Posts