Celia’s Marketplace, Providing Authentic Barrel-Aged Balsamic Vinegars and Oils
Growing up in a barrel takes years! But to be a “real” traditional balsamic you must have patience.
Balsamic vinegar, the kind used in Celia’s products, is made from syrup (not wine) that comes from the juice of white grapes, typically Trebbiano. Pure wine must, (unfermented grape juice) of the white Trebbiano grapes, is aged slowly in barrels, according to time honored techniques in Modena Italy. Throughout the aging and evaporation process the vinegar acquires its rich aroma, flavor and color. The sweetness of our balsamic is strictly from the grapes as the evaporation process continues.
As balsamic ages (and gradually evaporates), the liquid is transferred to successively smaller casks of varying types of wood and becomes more concentrated and sweet with each transfer. Oak, mulberry, chestnut, cherry, juniper, ash and acacia are the most common types of wood barrels used.
There are many quality levels of balsamic. The highest is labeled “tradizionale,” and is very expensive, sold in tiny bottles and, because it’s so concentrated, used in very small amounts (and a little bit goes a long way). The most inexpensive varieties may not be aged in wood at all, being nothing more than ordinary wine vinegar with caramel for coloring and sugar added to mimic the sweetness of better ones. Legally these are not allowed to be called “traditional” or “tradizionale,” even if they still say “Aceto Balsamico di Modena”
Imported from Modena, Italy this is some of the finest balsamic vinegar, produced in the traditional Italian style. Our Dark Balsamic is aged up to 18 years in varying types of wooden barrels, resulting in a balanced flavors and character. Rich in the originating grape flavors, over the aging process it becomes influenced by the various wood barrels, producing a classic Italian product.
This outstanding balsamic vinegar can be used as a condiment to top off a dish before serving, or as a special treat on salads. It is wonderful when drizzled on sliced strawberries and other fresh fruit, cheese, and ice cream.
White Balsamic Vinegar
This vinegar, produced from the same Trebbano grapes as the traditional dark balsamic, has a more subtle, sweet, honeyed flavor. Its aging process remains the same however the lighter color and flavor is due to aging in light Oak barrels rather than in the deeper, richer and darker barrels used for the traditional dark balsamic. Its light and delicate aftertaste, along with its pure clean color has an advantage over the classic dark in that it can be served with lighter colored foods such as pastas, fruits, fish and salads without discoloration.