With a variety of types, flavors and uses of vinegar, this common ingredient has grown in popularity for its diversity.
But with its popularity comes some common misconceptions about what the different types of vinegar are. For example, balsamic vinegar has a unique flavor and process than distilled vinegar.
With our dedication to providing you with the highest quality products, we’re here to set the record straight. Because believe it or not, not all vinegars have the same quality. Here we share what vinegar is, how it’s made, what makes balsamic unique and why balsamic is the perfect ingredient for your dishes.
In its most general description, vinegar comes from fermenting an alcohol into an acidic liquid. That acidic liquid is the sweet, tart and recognizable vinegar taste.
Before we get too scientific, let us assure you that it’s really just combining alcohol and oxygen in a fermentation process that creates acetic acid and water. In this process, the natural bacteria that’s found in fruits and starches are activated. When this bacteria takes up the alcohol, acetic acid is the result. While there are different processes in creating vinegars, the general process involves creating acetic acid from alcohol and oxygen.
When the naturally-occurring bacteria creates cellulose, it’s called “mother of vinegar.” While it sounds somewhat odd, this part of vinegar ensures that it’s been made naturally and maintains the important health benefits that vinegar has. When vinegar is not made naturally, that healthy bacteria that makes vinegar so beneficial is gone.
The type of vinegar comes from what its original source is - what it’s made out of.
As the basis of vinegar is alcohol and oxygen, some vinegar comes from grape wine that is fermented. Wine vinegar, for example, comes from red or white grape wine. Fruit wine vinegar comes from fruit wine. Rice vinegar comes from rice wine. Honey vinegar comes from, you guessed it, honey wine. Ever heard of potato vinegar? This comes from potato vodka that’s fermented. Malt vinegar is produced from beer with malted grains.
But balsamic doesn’t come from balsamic wine. This unique type of vinegar that’s full of flavor and taste is made from grape must that’s been cooked down.
The balsamic’s uniqueness comes from its source - the grape must. What is must? It’s the whole pressed grape, including skins, seeds, stems and the juice.
To ensure its quality is up to the highest of standards, balsamic vinegar has several requirements in order to be considered authentic “balsamic vinegar.” These requirements are broken down into categories based on its source and what process the grape must goes through.
The balsamic you find on the shelves at Fustini’s is in the category of IGP, or Protected Geographical Indication. The grape must consists of local grape varietals from the northern region of Italy. Then, the grape must is mixed with barrel aged wine vinegar and aged. The production of this type of vinegar also must take place in Modena or Reggio Emilia in order to be considered authentic Balsamic Vinegar. As the balsamic ages, it’s stored in oaken kegs made of woods such as chestnut, cherrywood and others to add additional character and flavor to the vinegar.
With a focus on quality, we work to ensure our balsamic is at the highest standards, which sets our product apart from what you’ll find in the grocery store. For example, the grocery store varieties can contain unhealthy additives like sweeteners, thickeners and colorings. Our balsamics are flavored with all natural flavorings and fruit purees.
The balsamic vinegar we offer also has other key features that set it apart from other varieties. It has a high density, which elevates the flavor, taste and visual appearance of the vinegar. It’s also made of 100% pure cooked grape must with a little bit of barrel aged wine vinegar. That’s it. There’s no additional additives, thickeners, added sugars or caramel coloring. It’s low on sulfites, naturally gluten-free and GMO free.
Balsamic is just the start of the quality products you can find at Fustini’s. You can also expand your vinegar varieties in trying white wine vinegar like Invecchiato or Pinot Grigio. Get a health boost with our Apple Cider vinegar or our red wine vinegar, Vinoso and Moscatel. See if you can taste the uniqueness of each type of vinegar.
Whether you prefer the flavorful 18 Year Traditional, a white and fruity variety such as Cranberry or Peach, a savory Herbs of Naples or a sweet and spicy Peperoncino Honey, you can taste the quality in an authentic balsamic vinegar. Discover the difference for yourself.
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