I was standing in Trader Joe’s a few years ago looking for white vinegar for my family’s cucumber salad recipe. I asked one of the store clerks where it was, and he led me over to the section. “If you want to try a really great vinegar, go for this one,” he said. He was so right.
Whenever we see a recipe for white wine vinegar or white vinegar we sub in white balsamic instead. It’s got a mellowness the others don’t have and truly makes a dish special. I recently made my cucumber salad recipe with white wine vinegar, and we didn’t even finish it. It’s just so much better with white balsamic vinegar.
White Balsamic Vinegar is the same as White Modena Vinegar
The name of the bottle at TJ’s changed recently to white Modena vinegar, the region of Italy where the vinegar originates. I asked the reason for the change and got a vague, “it’s not balsamic” answer. Balsamic vinegar ferments over a period of years by slowly draining some vinegar from the bottle, and adding some more vinegar on top annually. I think they can’t call it balsamic anymore for this reason, but look for both options at your local grocery store. There is little quality control when it comes to balsamic vinegars, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at options. The pricing will vary widely based on quality. Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia about the process:
Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically, Trebbiano grapes) boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavors. The flavor intensifies over the years, with the vinegar being stored in wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentrated. During this period, a portion evaporates: it is said that this is the “angels’ share,” a term also used in the production of bourbon whiskey, scotch whisky, wine, and other alcoholic beverages.
Modena is the Detroit of Italy, housing car manufacturers Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and more. But, it’s also an ancient city, famed for its vinegar.
How to use white balsamic vinegar
This vinegar is great as a vinaigrette and for salads. Below is a list of recipes to try that are already on our blog. Have you used this great vinegar? Please share some of your favorite recipes.
Recipes to Try: