Kisses sweeter than wine
Pete Seeger sung the words of today’s title and I remember singing the song long before I actually kissed a girl – or drank wine for that matter.
A few years ago I was shopping for cheese when my cheese boyfriend (more on that in a later post – lets just say that we all have our vices) informed me that he had a wonderful balsamic vinegar. According to my cheesy BFF, it was 25 years old and it was wonderful – so sweet that you could actually drink it. I laughed and he insisted that this was no joke and poured me a small cup. He insisted (and still does) that the test of a good balsamic is its drink-ability.
Traditional Balsamic vinegar, such as the one above was not exported from Italy until the 1980s! Wine grapes are boiled to remove about one third of their volume before being aged in wooden barrels which age year after year. The wine loses about 10% of its volume every year as evaporation attacks the sweet elixir.
It is estimated that it takes 70 pounds of grapes (yes that is seven-zero!) to make 1 cup of true balsamic vinegar. The heavens drink a larger portion than we can ever imagine and leave us with their leftovers – fortunately they left the best for last.
De Nigris 25 year vinegar is a 100-year old family recipe that has been passed down from father to son. It is fantastic on cheese (Beemsters is my favorite), strawberries, salad, vanilla ice cream or, indeed, as a small sipper all by itself. It can be difficult to find for months on end before suddenly becoming available in abundance. Dollar-for-dollar it is the best vinegar I have ever tried.
The price tag scared me at first – a small taste is all that is needed here. We often use an eye dropper to put a few drops on a piece of shaved frommage before popping back a cheesy shooter.
This is a heavenly flavor and one that I encourage you to jump in and try.