Balsamic vinegar can make even a non-Italian smile. Balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite ways to dress up salads, vegetables and fruit. It’s low in calories and high in health. It taste good and adds a zip to most foods. I repeat; it taste good and is low in calories. Are you smiling? Feeling happy?
True balsamic vinegar is not really vinegar. Rather it is made from the pressing of two grapes, Trebbiano and Lambrusco, resulting in a thick syrup that is aged for a minimum of 12 years. The syrup is aged in different types of barrels such as oak, acacia, chestnut, cherry, mulberry, ash and sometime juniper. Traditional balsamic vinegar comes for either Reggio Emilia or Modena Italy. Different ages of vinegars carry different labels.
The flavor intensifies over the years, with the vinegar becoming sweet and very concentrated. During this period a small portion of the liquid evaporates. It is said this is the “angels” share. Somehow that conjures up happy thoughts in my head.
My two favorite balsamic vinegars are Elsa which is great for salads, meats and vegetables and Riserva di Famiglia which is good also for salads, but is a little sweet so works great on fruit with a little cheese. Both are quite expensive, but well worth the cost. You only use a small amount so they last a long time. Once you have tried these balsamics you will never go back to commercial vinegars again.
I promise these little gems will not only make your taste buds happy, but they are also good for your health. Balsamic vinegar boosts the activity of pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down protein into small amino acids that can be easily absorbed by the body. Pepsin helps to improve the body’s metabolism as well. Balsamic vinegar improves insulin sensitivity, allowing for easier regulation of blood sugar.