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May 9, 2008 11:17 PM

Aged balsamic vinegar?

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)?

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      Surfas in Culver City has a large selection of BV

    2. 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

        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. 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. 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

            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

              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. 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

              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.