What are the Differences between Balsamic Vinegar and Balsamic Glaze? Two condiments often confused, but that hide subtle differences. Let’s try to understand how to recognize them and see if the glaze can be used as a substitute for Balsamic Vinegar.
Nowadays many people do not know the differences between Balsamic Vinegar and Balsamic glaze.
Both can be used as a Balsamic dressing on various dishes, but the taste you get will inevitably be different.
The difference we perceive on our palate comes from the difference in methods of preparation between Vinegar and Balsamic glaze.
To understand which of the two to buy and use in your recipes you need to learn to distinguish them as a condiment, in order to understand what you are buying.
What is Balsamic glaze?
The first important concept to understand is that Balsamic glaze, also called Balsamic cream, is a reduction of Balsamic Vinegar.
Its preparation then starts from this product, to which various ingredients are added, such as sugar, flour, starch and butter.
The result is therefore a artificially denser, sweeter and less valuable product than a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
Balsamic glaze can still be used as seasoning, as a substitute for Balsamic Vinegar, although it would be preferable to use it as a garnish.
What is Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic Vinegar is a traditional dressing, renowned and appreciated all over the world.
Its intense and bittersweet flavor allows it to be easily distinguishable from other vinegars, also because of its dark color.
Unlike glaze, Balsamic Vinegar is taken directly from the grape must, fermented and aged.
The acidity of this product is an added value and is the result of the natural processes that leads to the final product, to which no sugars and flours are added.
The product will therefore be more valuable because all its characteristics of density and taste are due to slow and natural processes, becoming one of the most sought after dressings on the market.
Types of Balsamic Vinegar.
Balsamic Vinegar is a particular type of vinegar, traditional from the province of Modena.
However, not all features are identical. For this reason there are two different designations of origin, aimed at preserving the tradition of the recipe, while ensuring certain quality standards for the customer.
We are talking about the names DOP (PDO – Protected Designation of Origin) and IGP (PGI – Protected Geographical Indication).
The first difference between IGP Balsamic Vinegar and DOP, lies in the process of obtaining the final product: the IGP can contain traces of up to 2% of caramel , an ingredient absolutely forbidden in Balsamic Vinegar DOP.
The provenance of the grapes is more controlled in DOP Balsamic Vinegar: in this case it is allowed to use only grapes from the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
Finally, the biggest difference, the fermentation time.
The IGP Balsamic Vinegar has a fermentation time of 60 days, unlike the DOP which has 12 years, as a minimum standard of fermentation and refinement. A difference that is also reflected in the final result.
Differences between Balsamic Vinegar and Balsamic glaze.
Keeping in mind what was said earlier, you may notice several differences between Vinegar and Balsamic glaze.
The glaze is definitely sweeter while the vinegar is more acidic. However, you should keep in mind that the acidity of the vinegar is due to the naturalness of its production, thus constituting a strong point against the addition of sugars and starches present in Balsamic glaze.
Considering the differences between Balsamic Vinegar and Glaze: Which one to choose?
At this point it should be easier to make an informed decision.
A DOP Balsamic Vinegar (or even IGP) is definitely a much higher quality product than glaze.
The glaze is cheaper, but its price, making an objective evaluation, is extremely high, counting all the ingredients with which it is diluted.
Buying a Balsamic Vinegar, you will pay for a high quality traditional product.
Buying Balsamic glaze, you will pay for a derivative of vinegar, lacking of the traditional flavor, but with the flavors of added sugars and flours.