Both delicious and both vinegars, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar are made differently and will give you different results in your culinary adventures. How to decide which to use? Knowledge is power!
Balsamic vinegar, classically Italian, has a sweet, fruity flavor and mild acidity. It lends a richness to salads and vegetable dishes and can season anything from grilled meat to poached fruit. It is an excellent choice for deglazing pans. But not all balsamic vinegars are created equal. There is a wide range of prices and quality. The finest tradizionale balsamic vinegars are produced from freshly-harvested grapes. The juice is boiled down to about 30% of the original volume, then fermented in wooden casks for 12 years or more, becoming sweeter and more concentrated over time. You pay for this attention to ingredients and production, but the quality is so amazing that you can drink it as if it were a fine port. The most readily available balsamic vinegars are a mix of balsamic and wine vinegars with artificial color added to mimic the appearance of the traditional balsamic vinegars. Most people use these moderately priced vinegars in their recipes with great success.
Red wine vinegar, as one might guess, begins with red wine. That makes perfect sense - the word vinegar comes from the French viniagre, which means sour wine. Red wine vinegar is aged for a shorter period of time, needing just a year or two to ferment. It is less sweet than balsamic vinegar and its more assertive flavor is used to season salad dressings, sauces and marinades. It plays well with the strong flavors of hearty dishes. As with balsamic vinegar, there is a wide range of quality and price in red wine vinegars. The less expensive red wine vinegars are aged for a shorter period of time, resulting in a vinegar with a more biting flavor.
Are you ready to experiment with balsamic and red wine vinegars? Check out these recipes for salads, entrées, desserts and more that give life to a tale of two vinegars.
Candied almonds and avocados cry out for a dressing with the flavor of balsamic vinegar. The salad is nice enough for a fancy lunch or dinner, but don't wait for company - you want this now and you deserve it!
This taste of Tuscany calls for the robust flavor of red wine vinegar. The dressing, like the one for Cafe Green Salad, includes olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard, but the red wine vinegar gives it a tangier flavor.
It is easier to make fresh sausage than you think! Red wine vinegar blends with a collection of flavorful herbs to make a pork sausage that's so much better than anything you find at the grocery store!
Are you curious about a balsamic and red wine vinegar mashup? The colorful spinach and strawberries are at their best with a balsamic and red wine vinaigrette. A little bacon, a little bleu cheese, a little heaven!