Let’s find out the differences between balsamic vinegar and wine vinegar. Why these two products differ and why balsamic vinegar has undoubtedly higher quality.
Not all vinegars are the same. If we compare a normal wine vinegar with a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena and Reggio Emilia, you will be surprised by the differences between balsamic vinegar and wine vinegar. Although in the eyes of an inexperienced person they may look similar, a chef wouldn’t blame you for thinking that.
Both the method of production and its use are different. Balsamic vinegar gives dishes that extra touch that a normal wine vinegar could never give.
Let’s now analyze the characteristics and differences between the two seasonings.
In the world of cooking and when you are about to evaluate a food product all the senses are involved. It is the particular taste, the particular scent of a dish that moves us and makes it unforgettable. Even if you try balsamic vinegar as a condiment on the most varied dishes you will be impressed.
Looking at the colors that characterize the two products. the first difference immediately jumps out at you. Wine vinegar is pale, almost transparent, reddish in color and not very dense. On the contrary, balsamic vinegar is very dark in color and is very dense. These characteristics led it to be nicknamed “black gold.”
Analysing it with the sense of smell you are overwhelmed by a sweet and soft scent that is able to make the customers drool. The smell of wine vinegar is more pungent and certainly less enveloping and inviting.
Moving on to taste, the most important sense when we talk about cooking, balsamic vinegar can give dishes a sweet and sour taste. A wine vinegar has a very acidic taste which is not as well balanced as that of a balsamic vinegar. The latter explodes on the palate with a fullness of flavor and a mature harmony between sweet and sour. This nuance of taste can enrich every dish with a flavor that can make the difference between an ordinary dish and an excellent dish.
Differences in use between balsamic vinegar and wine vinegar
Wine vinegar is present and distributed in greater quantities than traditional balsamic vinegar and this is the reason for its lower price. It is also used for many different purposes and does not excel when used in the kitchen. It can be used as a cleanser to clean house surfaces, to make unpleasant odors disappear and removes limescale from glasses and dishes. We can also use it to remove the stains from curtains and sheets and to keep ants and insects away from our homes.
The main use of traditional balsamic vinegar is undoubtedly in the kitchen, to enrich all our dishes. One of its uses, which has become traditional and symbolic of the Italian cuisine, consists of pouring a few drops over flakes of Parmesan cheese. We get a combination of flavors that is truly enviable.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is also excellent with desserts. You can get a very special flavor when it is also combined with strawberries. Very good on ice cream too.
Differences between balsamic vinegar and wine vinegar: the production methods
Wine vinegar is produced from red or white wine following an acetification process (using selected bacterial colonies) and an aging process. On the other hand, when we speak of the traditional balsamic vinegars of Modena and Reggio Emilia, the only raw material used is cooked must that is aged for at least 12 years inside fine wooden barrels. As for PGI balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar is one of the ingredients together with cooked grape must and a percentage of caramel.
Traditional balsamic vinegar represents one of the excellences of the Italian gastronomic scene and it is recognized worldwide. It is among the most exported in the list of the top ten Italian food products and it generates a truly remarkable sales volume. Speaking of numbers, 92% of the balsamic vinegar produced is exported to 120 countries and it is well-known worldwide. The sales volume of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena exceeds 370 million euros; the consumer turnover reaches one billion euros. These are important sums that make us understand the weight of this product in the Italian agri-food economy.
Wine vinegar does not enjoy this reputation and its turnover is certainly lower.
As we have seen, wine vinegar and traditional balsamic vinegar are very different from each other, due to their own characteristics and methods of use. If we want to bring the highest quality to our table, the choice certainly falls on the Traditional DOP Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Its taste, its long and rigorous production and its tradition place it at the pinnacle of Italian vinegars.