Great ingredients make for great meals. Whenever you can, use the highest quality supplies for your recipes. The flavor difference will always come through in your finished dish.
If there is an ingredient that you are not familiar with, check our Ingredient section. There are pages and pages of information about the ingredients used in my recipes.
The queen of vinegar production is balsamic vinegar. Very popular now, true balsamic vinegar is made from the Trebbiano grape. The rich brown color comes from being aged in wood casks, often for decades. Although it is made from grapes, balsamic vinegar isn't produced from wine (as are most vinegars). The authentic product may not contain any wine vinegars - the grape juice is simply reduced and then made directly into vinegar.
The closest that you will find to a "star rating" is by the consortiums of Modena and Reggio Emilia. These are the only guarantee of authentic aged balsamic vinegar, as both of these groups have strict rules of inclusion in the consortium that relies on strict guidelines of quality.
The Modena consortium designates their products by bottling in a squat round bottle and one of two capsules to seal the cork. A white capsule indicates vinegar that is at least 12 years old and gold foil is for vintage vinegars - those that have aged at least 25 years and carry the designation extravecchio.
Reggio Emilla vinegars are put up in a bottle with a long thin neck and have a round label to designate the vintage. Red seals, like the white capsule, indicate at least 12 years of ageing. Silver seals are for 18 years and older and gold for those vintages of 25 years or more.
The thin balsamic vinegar that is on most store shelves today is a manufactured by combining conventional white wine vinegars with colorings and flavorings.
Should I throw this balsamic vinegar
What is the Alcohol Content of Vinegar? What Should I Use Instead of Vinegar?
What is the percentage of alcohol in Balsamic Wine Vinegar?
Does balsamic vinegar contain lead?
Is there a rating system for balsamic vinegar?
How long can I keep balsamic vinegar?
Is this thickened balsamic vinegar safe to eat?
Strawberries with Balsamic Reduction
Strawberries with Balsamic Chocolate Sauce
Grilled Pineapple with Creamy Balsamic Sauce
Quickie London Broil with Balsamic Mushrooms
Flank Steak with Garlic Balsamic Reduction
Oven Seared Hanger Steak
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Port Sauce
Balsamic Mushroom Souffle
Spaghetti Squash Salad
Purple Potato Salad
Mediterranean Chicken Salad
Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Chef's Salad with Parmesan Dressing
Carrot Rosemary Vinaigrette
Salmon with Parmesan Crust
Halibut with Seven Spices
Pizza with Mushrooms and Prosciutto
Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples