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*AIB (Association of Italian Balsamic Vinegar Tasters) Rating System
- 4 Leaves = A syrupy sweet Italian aged balsamic vinegar with complex flavors and a heady aroma; used for special dishes, with fresh fruit or on ice cream and certain specialty cheeses like Parmesan and sharp- aged provolone
- 3 Leaves = smooth, full bodied balsamic vinegar with a polished finish with tangy accents. This syrupy, full bodied italian aged balsamic vinegar is often used for roasted meats and fish, and in sauces.
- 2 Leaves = round and spirited, brisk yet vibrantly balanced. This lightly concentrated aged italian balsamic vinegar is suitable for marinades and steamed vegetables.
- 1 Leaf = light in flavor and consistency, a sweet and zesty aged Italian balsamic vinegar ideal for salad dressings and everyday use
more info for the AIB Balsamic Rating
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Balsamic Vinegar or aceto balsamico, in Italian, is a condiment that has been produced in Modena Italy since the middle ages. Tradizionale, or traditional Italian Balsamic Vinegar is aged after a process of cooking the "must," a concentration of the trebbiano grape (in particular a Spanish variety with a higher sugar content.) The grape is then crushed, becoming the must and then immediately cooked over an open fire at a minimum of 80┬░ C or 176┬░ F (a DOP requirement.) The DOP minimum standard is 80┬░ to insure that the bacteria is all killed, and the Balsamic Vinegar is safe to age. It is then aged in a series of wooden casks for many years until it develops its lush, syrupy texture and sweet flavor we have come to recognize as Italian Balsamic Vinegar! More info on the complete process Making Balsamic Vinegar.