Today's tip

Drizzle it on grilled steak, salads, cheeses, fruit and even ice cream.

Balsamic vinegar is now very popular in the U.S. but it has been produced in Italy for more than 800 years. It has a high acidity level, but it’s very mellow because of some of its inherent sweetness. Some balsamic vinegars can be very expensive, especially ones with significantly long aging times (some up to 50 years) and small production amounts. It is used for drizzling on cheeses, desserts, and cooking roasted meats. Balsamic vinegar goes especially well with strawberries for a sweet treat.

When shopping for balsamic vinegar, look for the legendary Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale. It is far superior and is, accordingly, expensive. It is best when used without cooking; drizzle it on grilled steak, salads, cheeses, fruit and even ice cream. All other bottles are aceto balsamico commerciale, these are more affordable and are the kind of balsamic you use in cooking. The commerciale does not have the traditional fabrication and aging process of the tradizionale, but nonetheless, it delivers a lot of flavor to dishes.