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Really good Balsamic vinegar, looking for suggestion

b
bsrh Sep 25, 2011 05:03 PM

I am looking for a Balsamic to give to someone as a gift whose standard is Villa Manadori Balsamic Vinegar from Sonoma. Equal to, better than or very different from, at about the same price or a bit more.
Ideas? sources? Formaggio is close and usually reliable. Does anyone recommend one of their Balsamico Tradizionale from Modena or Reggio Emilia?

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  1. kobuta Sep 25, 2011 07:12 PM

    I can't think of specific brands, but the gourmet food section by the deli of the Fruit Center market place in Milton has a really nice selection of balsamic vinegars and olive oils, amongst other great food items.

    There's also a Sur la Table in the South Shore plaza and the last time I was there, I tried a nice white balsamic vinegar that was delicious. I think it was something like $40/bottle.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kobuta
      c
      cambridgedoctpr Sep 25, 2011 08:04 PM

      you should try various 40 to 50 dollar bottles of real modena vinegars; they have some good ones at Whole Foods.

    2. trufflehound Sep 25, 2011 09:00 PM

      Sulameria has some very nice ones.

      1. opinionatedchef Sep 25, 2011 09:35 PM

        the staff at Formaggio Cambr. was very helpful when i bought a few from them earlier this yr. They have the largest selection i have ever seen. Al at capone foods in union sq. has diff ones open that you can taste.

        -----
        Formaggio Kitchen
        244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

        Capone Foods
        14 Bow St, Somerville, MA 02143

        1. Boston_Otter Sep 26, 2011 04:13 AM

          I bought a bottle of Acetalia La Bonissima Gold at Pemberton Market, and it's delicious. I use tiny dribbles of it on fruit or tomatoes.

          1. sailormouth Sep 26, 2011 09:42 PM

            You could try John Dewar's in Newton Centre. My Villa Manodori (but it's from Modena, not Sonoma, or is that where your friend is?) is from there, I want to say it was about $35ish for 8.5 oz., a very fair price IMHO. I recall they had a few other nice ones, including possibly some sort Villa Manodori bottled personally by a teenaged Julius Caesar or something in it to really make your strawberries pop (or maybe it was just a bigger bottle that made it cost so much more, but I digress).

            If I were you, though, I'd ask Formaggio (or John Dewar's or wherever) if they had any open bottles so you can taste them, see what appeals to you.

            Oddly enough, I'm looking for the same thing in Miami for a wedding gift.

            1. b
              bsrh Sep 27, 2011 05:15 AM

              Thanks to all below for great suggestions, many in doable distance.
              apropos of Sonoma, my friend buys here modena balsamic from Wm. Sonoma, who started out in Sonoma but the vinegar comes from modena, Italy

              -----
              Sonoma
              206 Worcester Rd, Princeton, MA 01541

              4 Replies
              1. re: bsrh
                o
                ospreycove Sep 27, 2011 05:28 AM

                If you can find locally, Pedroni Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale. it is a real treasure, made in very small batches and is a legitimate traditional balsamic.
                http://www.amazon.com/Aceto-Balsamico...

                1. re: ospreycove
                  threedogs Sep 27, 2011 07:49 AM

                  Or, instead of plunking down $150, go to Marty's, pick up a bottle of Il Torrione balsamic vinegar for $1.69 and do this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Reduc...

                  Then package it in a beautiful bottle for a unique, personal gift, along with some other homecrafted goodies. :D. (No, I realize it's not what the OP is asking, and it really isn't a serious suggestion - would be something I'd do, although probably it wouldn't live up to aforementioned standards).

                  1. re: threedogs
                    StriperGuy Sep 27, 2011 08:19 AM

                    They even sell reduced balsamic in Europe now. In italian it's called Glaza balsamica or something like that.

                    I've always liked the really nice aged ones, but never felt they were worth the huge premium. I'd rather get a really good bottle of cognac and get garden variety balsamico.

                    1. re: StriperGuy
                      threedogs Sep 27, 2011 08:45 AM

                      "I'd rather get a really good bottle of cognac and get garden variety balsamico."

                      You're talking my language here!

                      I haven't tried the balsamic reduction yet, but will eventually. I love cooking & creating with flavors - now that the cooler weather is here (at least today, lol), I'm starting some baking again. A nice balsamic reduction would be a great addition.

              2. m
                MHowenstein Sep 27, 2011 05:24 AM

                O&CO has a store on Newbury Street. The employees there will let you taste any products you'd like so you're sure it's what you want. They are really helpful there.

                They have a Traditional Balsamic from Modena that's really delicious (about $34 or $35) and a smaller one that's under $20. The store is on their website too - oliviersandco.com

                1 Reply
                1. re: MHowenstein
                  n
                  NahantNative Sep 27, 2011 07:56 AM

                  The balsamic at O & co is amazing! Second the suggestion

                2. t
                  TheScribe Sep 27, 2011 08:57 AM

                  The Meat House on Beacon St. in Brookline has some great balsamic. Also, When Pigs Fly bakery.

                  -----
                  The Meat House
                  1285 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                  1. b
                    bsrh Sep 27, 2011 12:38 PM

                    Thanks to all, we have decided on a strategy following your global advice which is to taste at several palces. which means taking our time. which means buying another present, which is now done.

                    as i explain in a post that I sent by mistake to the general Boston board. the essential is here.

                    the most importance new item. there;s a capone in Cambridge on northern mass ave.

                    1. g
                      Gabatta Sep 27, 2011 12:48 PM

                      Try the Premium Balsamic Vinegar of Modena at O&Co on Newbury Street.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gabatta
                        l
                        LilyPom Sep 28, 2011 07:48 AM

                        I agree, O&CO on Newbury street has the best.

                      2. d
                        dakota9066 Sep 28, 2011 09:17 AM

                        Carter and Cavero makes the best balsamic hands down. I didn't even like balsamic until I tried theirs. I think they only have locations in NY/NJ area, but totally worth ordering online if you are wiling to wait a week or so. Their traditional balsamic is aged 20 years (rather than 10 like most). It's not too pricey either!

                        1. l
                          lexpatti Sep 28, 2011 10:14 AM

                          I was recently turned onto Bariani Balsamic and Olive Oil and love them both very much:
                          http://www.barianioliveoil.com/catalo...

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