December 10, 2010
Rare and Wonderful Balsamic Vinegar:
One of the first theories of gift-giving is to offer your friends the indulgences you most covet but feel guilty about buying for yourself. Great aged balsamic vinegar definitely falls into that category. I love it, find it endlessly useful in the kitchen – and am always reluctant to spend the money for the best.
Buying it for friends is another matter. It is, I think, a perfect gift. Choosing which one to buy is a constant problem, but here is a suggestion. Aceto Balsamico of Monticello is a wonderful elixir, with deep, concentrated flavor. Organic and hand-made, it is aged in Italian casks for thirteen years. It is rare – only a thousand bottles are sold each year. And – here’s the amazing thing – it is made in New Mexico. Paul Bertolli of Fra' Mani first told me about it, and I am forever in his debt.
This is, obviously, a present for someone you really care about. But if they dole it out the way that I do, a drop here, a drop there, it will last all year. And they’ll think of you each time they taste the mysteriously deep, dense flavor.
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