There was a time about a decade or so ago when all of a sudden everything became balsamic. Somehow this sorta sweet vinegar overtook all other condiments. Salads were doused in it, chicken breasts were soaked in it, pork chops were glazed with it. It raced from specialty store cases to grocery aisles, but on the way it became nothing more than a darker, somewhat less acidic, and sugared-up version of every other vinegar on the shelf.
But that supermarket stuff isn’t the real thing. Less than 3,000 gallons of genuine Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale are released each year, all of it made in Modena, the historic town just west of Bologna. Artisans make the traditional balsamic by pressing Trebbiano grapes, boiling down the fresh juice by more than half to make a dark syrup, and then aging it in progressively smaller casks to ferment. The only Biodynamic balsamic vinegar that carries the DOP of Modena is made by the Guerzoni family. The "Vecchio" grade is for balsamic vinegars that contain vinegars spanning 12 to 25 years.The Guerzoni Biodynamic Vecchio Balsamic Vinegar is special. Don’t waste it by mixing it into a vinagrette. This precious syrup should be drizzled over chunks of the best Parmesan, ripe pears, in-season heirloom tomatoes, or just sipped and savored from small crystal glasses. 3.4 ounces. $150.::Purely Organic [by Tamara Holt]