"There's only two consortia who produce balsamic vinegar," says chef Tom Douglas. "One in Mordova and in neighboring Reggio Emilia. True balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes."
He says that's where you get the thick, syrup quality of the vinegar. He adds that true balsamic vinegar is aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. The vinegar has complex flavor that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks, he says.
Tom says he likes the vinegar on fruit more than cheese. "I like balsamic in a light dressing, where you're just using a touch of it. Maybe a third balsamic and two-thirds red wine vinegar," he says.
He recommends buying different brands to find out what you like best, and blending the others to use them up.
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