By Carl Hanson
August 24, 2015

Food-friendly balsamic vinegar is a rich, dark brown, sweet-sour vinegar made from fermented wine grapes barrel-aged for many years.

Balsamic Vinegars
Photo by Meredith

Cooking with Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is delicious drizzled over salads, of course. But try it in cooked dishes, too. Balsamic vinegar holds onto its spicy kick, balancing the rich flavor of meat, poultry, and fish, and adding welcome acidity to vegetables. Some Italians even toss back balsamic vinegar as a tonic, sometimes mixed with a bit of water.

Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin
Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin | Photo by Allrecipes

Rich, Sweet Balsamic Vinegar

Try balsamic vinegar with figs, strawberries, peaches, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Balsamic Strawberries
Balsamic Strawberries | Photo by lutzflcat

Best of the Balsamic

Traditional balsamic vinegar comes from fermented trebbiano grapes often aged for decades in a series of small barrels. Over time, the vinegar becomes increasingly concentrated into a complex-tasting syrup.

The best balsamic vinegar is Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. Its honeyed flavor is one of a kind, but it can be expensive. Good thing a little bit goes a long way! For something less pricey, look for balsamic vinegars labeled simply Balsamico di Modena (without the "tradizionale") or coming from the Reggio-Emilia region of Italy. And keep an eye out for good domestic brands, too.

How to Make Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction

See how to make a beautiful tomato salad with fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and a generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar and honey reduction.