Chatelaine Kitchen

The difference between white balsamic and dark balsamic vinegar

Do you prefer one balsamic vinegar over the other? We think both have a place in the pantry, here's why.

Image of white and regular balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar, that syrupy, dark brown, slightly sweet yet tangy, oh-so-versatile ingredient is a staple in out panty, and for good reason. Use it in a simple weeknight salad, drizzle over wedge of Parmesan for a guest-worthy treat, or even use it in baking, the possibilities are endless. But have you heard of white balsamic? Get the know the differences between these two vinegars:

Balsamic Vinegar
Authentic balsamic vinegar has a protected designation of origin seal on its label. This your guarantee that the vinegar is made in the traditional way: Trebbiano or Lambrusco grape juice from, Italian regions of Modena and Reggio Emilia, is reduced and then aged in barrels for anywhere between 12 to 25 years. While a single bottle of the real stuff can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars, the more commonly found (and more affordable) variety is balsamic vinegar of Modena. This vinegar is also produced in the Italian region of Modena, but is made using a combination of wine vinegar and grape juice and may be aged for less time. Both versions add a darkness, complexity and sweet acidity to a wide range of dishes, so it’s up to your wallet which one you choose.

We love it in: Salads and sauces.

Try it in:
Panzanella Salad
Pomegranate Pulled Pork
Crispy Szechuan Duck

White Balsamic Vinegar
While similar to its classic counterpart, white balsamic is a milder and slightly less-sweet version. It’s primarily made in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna by cooking white Trebbiano grapes, but at a higher pressure and lower temperature, to retain its pale and golden hue. From there it may be aged, but for no longer than one year in order to retain its lightness. Use it when you’re looking for softer flavours, or aesthetically when you want to keep your sauces and dressings light in colour.

We love it in: Summery meals.

Try it in:
Chicken and Pepper Bake
Strawberry Tea Sandwiches

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