Cask-aged Italian balsamic vinegar is a cut above the vinegar most of us use on our daily salads.
Aged balsamic will happily perform as the center of attention in an appetizer, drizzled over a piece of Parmesan cheese, or dotted on a fresh tomato and mozzarella salad. As a complement, it easily brightens the flavor in roasted vegetables or meats and reduces beautifully for sauce. Cask aging is an old artisanal method that creates a smooth, denser vinegar with almost no acidic bite; the longer it sits, the smoother it gets. Some food aficionados will spend as much on a cask-aged vinegar as they would on a bottle of great wine, so we’re happy to find that Lucini’s excellent flavor easily matches brands that are two or three times more expensive. A great way to make ordinary dishes holiday-special at an everyday price. About $15 for an 8.5-ounce bottle at your local natural grocery, or order online from www.dcimports.com.