The Balsamic Vinegar Brand Ina Garten Swears By – Mashed

Ina Garten’s balsamic vinegar of choice is Fini Modena , which retails for under $20. Fini has the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin)  and IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) certifications, authenticating that the vinegar is from Italy and produced under strict food regulations, protecting buyers from imitations with additives and coloring.   Traditional balsamic vinegar   has  notes of “fig, molasses, cherry, chocolate, or prune, ” tasting sweet and sour without being too acidic.

Home cooks can spend upwards of $300 for a single bottle of balsamic vinegar . From salad balsamic to aged varieties, the viscosity and consistency will vary. Traditional balsamic vinegar is made only in Reggio Emilia and Modena, Italy, similar to how sparkling wine can only be called inch champagne inches if it comes from the Champagne region of France. Made from grapes, balsamic is processed similar to fortified wines like sherry, port, and Spanish brandy, for a minimum of twelve years.

Williams-Sonoma describes “Fini” balsamic vinegar as being “deep and complex” along with “the right balance associated with tart flavor” without being too sweet or thick, as an aged balsamic or glaze could be. Traditional balsamic white vinegar isn’t meant to be cooked with or used in a salad dressing (save the cheaper stuff for that). Instead, home cooks should garnish berries or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with just a few drops to add sweetness and smokiness. Or add a drizzle to ice cream or macerate strawberries in it, as Garten does in her panna cotta recipe. How easy was that?

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