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white balsamic vinegar

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The other night, a friend or a friend mentioned a "white balsamic vinegar" based sauce she'd been served in a restaurant. I'd never heard of such a thing. I did a little digging and sure enough, companies such as Roland and Alessi do offer such a product.

Is there a tradition of such a product, or is this a recently developed product to cater to American tastes? Is there such a thing as artisanal white balsamic vinegar in Italy?

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The other night, a friend or a friend mentioned a "white balsamic vinegar" based sauce she'd been served in a restaurant. I'd never heard of such a thing. I did a little digging and sure enough, companies such as Roland and Alessi do offer such a product.

Is there a tradition of such a product, or is this a recently developed product to cater to American tastes? Is there such a thing as artisanal white balsamic vinegar in Italy?

White balsamic vinegar....hmmmmm.

In Italy, there are two defined products, the industrial Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and the traditional artisanal product, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena or Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia.

In a nutshell, the traditional product from the two provinces (Modena and Reggio Emilia) is made from certain specified local grapes (most often used are Trebbiano and/or Lambrusco) which are cooked for hours until the volume is reduced to about half. The must is then aged in wood barrels, passing through several different barrels of aromatic wood, for as long as it takes for the consortium to approve it to be bottled as traditional. This usually takes at least twelve years, and longer, 25 years or more, for the extra-vecchio (extra old) products.

The industrial product is defined to be made with wine vinegar flavored with caramel coloring and caramel flavoring. It doesn't need to have any cooked grapes or spend any time aging in wood.

Naturally there are a lot of products in between, but that is another discussion. My point here is to wonder how a balsamic vinegar can be white. It can't be a traditional product because after all of that cooking (even when using 100% white trebbiano grapes), the must is dark. After aging in wood, the color darkens further, especially in oak which is almost always used. It must be an industrial product with something other than caramel added, because wouldn't caramel darken the color?

Anyone out there know?


Pamela Sheldon Johns

Italian Food Artisans

www.FoodArtisans.com

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some info here.

Here's what it says (brand name removed to protect the....innocent?)

"White Balsamic Vinegar - Modena Balsamic Vinegar 8.5 oz

Price: $3.95

Premium White Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, Italy is made from a different process than our regular balsamic vinegar. The vinegar "must" is not caramelized during processing (this is why it is golden in color). White Balsamic is used for aesthetic reasons, so as not to color sauces/dressings. Primarily used in salads and perfect for pasta salads, white balsamic can also be used in sauces for meat, fowl or fish or to deglaze a pan. "

Doesn't tell us much. We need someone to read the ingredient list on the label.

In any case at $3.95 for 8.5 ounces....I wonder what the non-premium product is.


Pamela Sheldon Johns

Italian Food Artisans

www.FoodArtisans.com

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any ingredients list that i've seen lists "white balsamic vinegar."

however, this from baking911.com sounds more reasonable:

'White balsamic vinegar is another loose interpretation of traditional balsamic. Producers add cooked-down grape juice to ordinary white-wine vinegar to give white balsamic its amber color and slightly sweet flavor'

and yeah, at 4 dollars a bottle, i have to think it's nothing more than sweet white vinegar.


Edited by tommy (log)

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thanks for the input, tommy. I think we've arrived at the same conclusion!


Pamela Sheldon Johns

Italian Food Artisans

www.FoodArtisans.com

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We need someone to read the ingredient list on the label.

I just pulled a bottle of Bellino White Balsamic Vinegar from my cupboard.

"Ingredients: Wine vinegar and concentrated grape must."

A further description from the label:

"Made from pure Italian white wine vinegar and sweet concentrated grape must. Use on salads, meat and fish. Contains no added preservatives or colorings."

Sounds like sweetened white wine vinegar to me.


Maria Gallagher

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right,

"concentrated" grape must doesn't necessarily mean cooked...which would account for the white color.


Pamela Sheldon Johns

Italian Food Artisans

www.FoodArtisans.com

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Thanks for all the great info Pamela - and everybody else who took the time to do some research. I was out of town for a few days and just got back in front of a computer. It looks like my suspicions have been confirmed.

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