Balsamic vinegar is a vinegar originating from Italy, increasingly popular throughout the world.
The original, costly, traditional balsamic vinegar, is made from a reduction of cooked white Trebbiano grape juice, and used as a condiment. It has been produced in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages, being mentioned in a document dated 1046. Appreciated in the House of Este during the Renaissance, it is highly valued by modern chefs and gourmet food lovers.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, an inexpensive imitation, is today widely available and much better known. It bears a Protected Geographical Status label, and is the kind commonly found on restaurant tables and used in salad dressing.
The names "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" and "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia" are protected by both the Italian Denominazione di origine protetta and the European Union's Protected Designation of Origin.
Balsamic vinegar contains no balsam. The word balsamico means "balsam-like" in the sense of "restorative" or "curative"
In Emilia-Romagna, tradizionale vinegar is most often served in drops on top of chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano and mortadella as an antipasto. It is also used sparingly to enhance steaks, eggs or grilled fish, as well as on fresh fruit such as strawberries and pears and on plain crema (custard) gelato. Tradizionale vinegar may be drunk from a tiny glass to conclude a meal.
Contemporary chefs use both tradizionale and condimento vinegars sparingly in simple dishes where the balsamic vinegar's complex tastes are highlighted, using it to enhance dishes like scallops or shrimp, or on simple pastas and risottos.
Recipe using Balsamic Vinegar see Here