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New I'm doing Italian right now, so . . .
. . I put up a page on the somewhat confusing subject of Balsamic Vinegar.

Balsamic Vinegar - "True" & "Industrial".
New Thanks, knew some of this but not all
Typos

Missing period after first "Tradizionale".

"juice ad pulp" > "juice and pulp"

"but Look for" > "but look for"


Are there acidity standards for Tradizionale or Condimento?

Is vinegar as frequently counterfeited as olive oil?

I've seen California balsamic. Are there any labeling standards in the US?
--

Drew
New Thanks, all fixed.
There seem to be no published acidity numbers for traditional balsamic - its evaluation is entirely subjective by the consortium's experts. On the other hand, some products advertizing 4.5% in non-compliance with the IGP suggests it is to approximate the acidity of the traditional.

There are plenty of imitation products made in Italy and elsewhere, but I have found no mention of them forging the certifications beyond calling it "Balsamic of Modena". Attempts have been made to produce traditional balsamic elsewhere in Italy, but they have failed.

On the other hand, there are probably "Balsamic of Modena" products in Italy that are entirely fake and have forged labels - it is Italy, after all - land of grape free wines. Hopefully the exporters and importers weed all these out.

I intend to comment on American balsamics when I get more information and a sample or two. None of the markets I usually shop at have any. I'm pretty sure there are no regulations in the U.S. - they're only just getting around to regulations on olive oil.
New I probably find them easier than you
Out here "California wine" has almost the same cachet as French. It might as well be imported, and we all "know" imported is better. Out there it's a local.

I suspect it's the same for vinegar.
--

Drew
New Yeah, olive oil too . . .
. . except in California, where we have no doubts ours is best.

A couple of years ago, a food magazine, I think it was the CIA** magazine (since discontinued), did a comparative testing of ExtraV Olive Oils which clearly demonstrated their East Coast prejudice. California Olive Oils took the top three spots, by a wide margin. The article stated "This shows that California is starting to catch up to the Italians". Yup, starting to.

That's not new. I have a very old cookbook from the days when you couldn't even get a cookbook published unless it was written in New York. The author extolled the virtues of the best Italian Olive Oils, but lamented, "Unfortunately they don't export these grades". He then lamented, "California makes Olive Oils fully equal to the best Italian. Unfortunately, they don't export it either".

Today it's different. With 400 producers, many of which are also wineries, there's plenty to export. All 400 producer's Extra Virgin conforms to quality certification by the COOC (California Olive Oil Council) - no problem with fake olive oil here.

Here we drink mostly California wine, as by far the best bang for the buck. Imported wines are usually served as an accent item, but are as often from Spain, Hungary Italy, and Chile as from France. The Frogs tend to be way over priced.

** Culinary Institute of America
New On less expensive balsamics vs. "Aged"
In the late 90's my wife sent me to a local (Italian) cooking school. We were given the aged balsamic vinegar to taste and compare with the cheaper off-the-shelf-anywhere type. Then Loretta (the teacher) took the cheaper stuff and reduced it by about half over low heat and the taste was remarkably similar. Apparently aging just filters off water and concentrates the vinegar which you can do manually.
"Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable."
~ AMBROSE BIERCE
(1842-1914)
New Makes whole day ..one lovely case of Insight, then Action. :-)
New Probably true for her selected conditions . . .
. . but probably not across the board. Aged balsamics vary a whole lot.

The minimum 3 years in oak barrel is not the same as more years in multiple barrels of different woods. The ratio of must to vinegar varies greatly, including some aged balsamics that are 100% must, like the real expensive stuff. Those with a high proportion of must are generally less than 6% acidity.
New Umm, is it usual for reviewers/tasters of such to omit pH? Me not grok-well "%".
New You imagine reviewers and tasters know what pH is?
Since I'm not either of those esteemed and highly paid worthies, I do own a pH meter, but I haven't had a need yet, so I haven't bought the calibration reagents yet.
New Heh.. even That-bad with these Worthies too? ..then ƒall, Cæsar.. :-/
     I'm doing Italian right now, so . . . - (Andrew Grygus) - (10)
         Thanks, knew some of this but not all - (drook) - (9)
             Thanks, all fixed. - (Andrew Grygus) - (8)
                 I probably find them easier than you - (drook) - (1)
                     Yeah, olive oil too . . . - (Andrew Grygus)
                 On less expensive balsamics vs. "Aged" - (hnick) - (5)
                     Makes whole day ..one lovely case of Insight, then Action. :-) -NT - (Ashton)
                     Probably true for her selected conditions . . . - (Andrew Grygus) - (3)
                         Umm, is it usual for reviewers/tasters of such to omit pH? Me not grok-well "%". -NT - (Ashton) - (2)
                             You imagine reviewers and tasters know what pH is? - (Andrew Grygus) - (1)
                                 Heh.. even That-bad with these Worthies too? ..then ƒall, Cæsar.. :-/ -NT - (Ashton)

It got me an A+ on a psych paper.
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