Learn more about this classic Italian accompaniment and the many ways to use it.
Balsamic Vinegars
Photo by Meredith

Cooking and Garnishing with Balsamic Vinegar

Food-friendly balsamic is a rich, dark brown, sweet-sour vinegar made from fermented wine grapes barrel-aged for many years. Read on to find out more and learn the many uses of balsamic vinegar.

Use It To Liven Up Savory Dishes (Or Just Your Palate)

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

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

Add Tang To Sweet Treats

For a tangy twist on your dessert or cheese course, try balsamic vinegar with figs, strawberries, peaches, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The deep, rich tones of balsamic are the perfect balance to sweet treats.

Balsamic Strawberries
Balsamic Strawberries | Photo by lutzflcat
| Credit: lutzflcat

The Best of the Balsamics

True traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from grapes grown in the Modena and Reggio Emilia regions of Italy. It is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting "mosto cotto" ("cooked [grape] must" in English) is 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 vinegar 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.

More Everyday Winners, Starring Balsamic

How to Make a Favorite: 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.

Get the recipe for this Caprese Salad.