Authentic balsamic vinegar: the whole truth about the most famous Italian vinegar. Second Part.16/07/2015
Last month we had talking about the authentic balsamic vinegar and we explained a first type of this precious Italian products. In the second part of this appointment with Italian gourmet, we’ll show you another type of balsamic vinegar, that we call Condimento Balsamico or Balsamic Condiment.
First of all, if you had lost the last article about balsamic vinegar, you can read it clicking here!
Condimento Balsamico: the tradition without tradition
Condimento is a term used to cover balsamic vinegars made in the traditional way, but that can’t receive the “traditional designation”. That is, it can be made and aged in Modena and Reggio Emilia, but without approval from consortium or without certifications. In effect, this variety of balsamic vinegar is not produced under appropriate supervision or it don’t meet the standard for maturity. Don’t worry! It doesn’t mean that it less fine then other varieties of balsamic vinegar. Often, it is an excellent balsamic product made according to DOP and IGP rules, but outside of Modena and Reggio Emilia and aged only for three, five or seven years. Also, Condimento Balsamico is generally much cheaper than traditional balsamics, but still excellent in quality! However, because the title “condiment” is not protected designation, you can find on lower grade vinegar and some version of “condiment” or “condimento” may appear on balsamic-like products. In particular, some wine vinegar are enriched with boiled must and other ingredients to simulate balsamic products, but outside of IGP regulations. Some of these products are good in quality, but of course it depends on the percentage of ingredients used.
Here, the main characteristic of authentic Condimento Balsamico
- Color and Texture
Condimento Balsamico tends to have greater viscosity and depth of color, the older it is the richer in flavor. A good Condimento should coat the wall of a glass.
Authentic Condimento offers a wonderful mix of acidity, sweetness, and leathery, cherry flavors.
Condimento products haven’t the D.OP. stamp on the label, but they should carry an I.G.P stamp (protected geographical indication) if it is made specifically with IGP balsamic vinegar. Furthermore, it can contain as main ingredient a DOP or IGP product, cut or enrich with other ingredients.
The best way to recognize a good Condimento is check the ingredients list: if grape must is the only ingredient, you can be sure that’s a good Balsamic Condimento. Some products may contain a little wine vinegar to balance the acidity, in this case pay more attention when you read the label: if the wine vinegar is the first ingredient, you’re looking at generic vinegar sweetened with balsamic must. The family name on the label is another good sign: a family name and a real address suggest a small chain production, so traditional producers.
Condimento should be used as a traditional balsamic vinegar, for example you can use it for a salad dressing.
Condimento will last forever but should be kept away from strong flavor and light.