香醋指南

香醋是一种略带甜味,深色,风味浓郁的醋,用于增强沙拉酱,腌料和调味料。它可以减少成釉和细雨 草莓,搅拌成一个 烩饭, 要么 扔布鲁塞尔豆芽 or 红洋葱 to let its sugars 焦糖ize in the oven.

But what is 香醋, really? How is it made? 什么’s the difference between white balsamic and regular 香醋? 什么 makes some 香醋 so 昂贵?

Earlier this year I spent a week in Italy on an intensive educational trip to learn about 香醋. I visited several commercial operations as a guest of the Consortium of 摩德纳的香醋, as well as smaller traditional balsamic producers, and even an above-the-garage attic where a family has been making balsamic for their personal use for 60 years.

In this 文章 I’ll cover where the tradition of 香醋 comes from, and explain the different types of 香醋, the current modern practices of producing 香醋 for broad consumption, and how to choose which 香醋 to buy.

什么 is 香醋?

香醋来自意大利的制醋工艺,其历史可追溯至中世纪。主要有两种类型。

Traditional 香醋 仅由一种成分制成-“grape 必须” (in Italian, “mosto”),即新鲜压榨的葡萄的甜汁-将其煮沸成浓缩液,然后进行发酵和酸化,然后在木桶中陈化12至25年或更长时间。

A highly crafted product, traditional 香醋 is produced in small batches. It is sweet, tart, dark, syrupy, and 昂贵。您只会在专卖店或网上找到这种价格昂贵的醋。

Modern commercial 香醋s (what you will likely find at your local grocery store) combine concentrated 葡萄必须 with wine vinegar to speed up the acidification process. This vinegar is typically aged from 2 months to 3 years in large oak barrels.

Mixing 葡萄必须 with wine vinegar allows producers to make a high volume of 香醋 much more efficiently than using the traditional method. Depending on the mix of sweet 葡萄必须 and tart wine vinegar, 香醋 can vary in its sweetness. It can range in consistency from thin to syrupy.

杂货店货架上的香醋

When you shop for 香醋, whether in grocery stores 要么 online, you will find a variety of products:

  • 摩德纳的香醋 PGI —从意大利摩德纳地区进口的香醋,可用于日常消费。如果它具有IGP或PGI标签(受保护的地理标志),则符合欧盟(EU)的生产法规。价格从每瓶4美元到20美元不等。
  • 香醋 (标签上未提及摩德纳) —日常使用的香醋,可能来自意大利也可能不来自意大利。如果没有’没有PGI标签,它可能仍来自意大利并且可能带有标签“Balsamic Condiment”。它可能是优质的,也可能是仿香醋,它只是醋(不需要葡萄),并添加了增稠剂和甜味剂。
  • 白香脂 — Similar to regular 香醋 but with a light golden color
  • 香脂釉 — Syrupy version of regular 香醋 that has added sweeteners and/or thickeners
  • Traditional 香醋 — Small batch, highly crafted 香醋 that can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 and more for a small bottle, available online and at specialty stores. If it has the DOP 要么 PDO label (Protected Designation of Origin), it is from either Modena 要么 Reggio Emilia and conforms to strict EU production regulations.
  • 调味品巴尔萨米科 — Made in the style of traditional 香醋, but doesn’正式符合欧盟标准。一些传统的香醋生产商提供“Condimento Balsamico” products that are 葡萄必须 香醋s that are aged fewer than the 12 years required for official certification.
意大利摩德纳景观葡萄

意大利Emilio Romana地区的景观

传统香醋

All 香醋 is derived from a thousand year old process developed around the area of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, which is why we will start our deep dive into balsamic here.

As mentioned, traditional 香醋 (a.k.a. “乙酰香脂”) is made from “grape 必须”这是新鲜压榨的葡萄汁。

Grape 必须 is the 只要 ingredient in traditional 香醋.

To conform with European Union standards, the grapes are required to be grown in the Modena and Reggio Emilia regions and are usually white Trebbiano and Lambrusco varieties. The 葡萄必须 is boiled in huge cauldrons outdoors 在明火中燃烧以减少其体积并浓缩其糖分,然后随着时间的推移在木桶中发酵并酸化。

Barrels for aging traditional 香醋

Barrels for aging traditional 香醋

Traditional 香醋 is aged for a minimum of 12 years in a series of successively smaller wooden barrels, each made from a different type of wood — oak, juniper, mulberry, ash, cherry, and chestnut.

随着醋在桶中陈化,它会从木材中获得香气,其酸度也变得柔和。由于木材是多孔的,醋会随着时间的流失而变得更浓,最终达到糖浆的稠度。

a battery of barrels of traditional 香醋 in a private attic

Barrels of traditional 香醋 aging in a private attic

每个季节,都会从最小的桶中抽出一些醋进行瓶装,然后从下一个更大的桶中的醋中补充该桶中的醋,依此类推。

Given the effort it takes to make traditional 香醋, it’s no wonder that the production volume is low and the prices are high!

在雷焦艾米利亚(Reggio Emilia)的传统酒窖中,韦尔纳诺城堡

摩德纳和雷焦艾米利亚保护的原产地标记(DOP)

官方的传统香脂仅来自意大利的摩德纳和雷焦艾米利亚这两个地区。摩德纳和雷焦艾米利亚都具有欧盟的特殊“ DOP”(受保护的原产地标记)名称,并严格遵守生产和销售规则。

对于摩德纳(Modena),瓶只能贴有12岁或25岁醋的标签。对于雷焦艾米利亚(Reggio Emilia),可以将醋标记为12、18或25岁。

这些规定甚至包括所用瓶子的大小(100毫升)和形状-颠倒的郁金香形(用于雷焦·艾米利亚(Reggio Emilia)的传统香脂)和球形(球形),用于摩德纳的矩形底部。

瓶来自摩德纳和雷焦艾米利亚的传统香醋

其他传统香醋生产商

意大利是世界上产量最大的国家’s traditional balsamic, there are other companies making 香醋 using traditional methods that rival the quality of the best traditional balsamic from Italy.

特别值得一提的是 Monitcello的传统Aceto Balsamico,这是在美国新墨西哥州制造的。他们用当地种植的意大利品种香脂葡萄的有机葡萄汁制成醋,然后在意大利木桶中陈酿醋。醋获得了露丝·赖克(Ruth Reichl),厨师保罗·贝托利(Paul Bertolli)和萨维尔杂志(Saveur Magazine)的高度评价。

在阁楼车库中的髋臼中

伊沃·皮翁比尼(Ivo Piombini)在他的家人中’意大利摩德纳的车库阁楼

How to use traditional 香醋

经过多年的陈酿过程而产生的丰富而复杂的风味确实是卓越的。您只需要少量的这种黑糖浆醋撒在新鲜的草莓或桃子上,或淋上一些帕马森芝士或香草冰淇淋。

你不’t cook with traditional 香醋. 热量会破坏微妙的味道,并浪费这种宝贵的液体。但是,您可以在添加主菜之前在盘子上细雨,或者在盘子上撒一些,例如猪肉,鸡肉或玉米粥。

或者,您也可以按照我的方式做,那就是几滴药水,然后直接享用,使味道散布在您的口腔内部。您会得到不同的木材和醋的糖醋味的提示。像品尝珍贵的美酒一样品尝。

摩德纳的香醋 PGI

Now we will shift gears and move on to the 香醋s you would normally see in your local grocery store. As you shop for 香醋 you will likely see many brands with the words “摩德纳的香醋” on the label.

唐’不要将这些瓶子与传统的香醋混淆;它’一个完全不同的过程,和价格点!

For centuries it has been a farmhouse practice to mix concentrated 葡萄必须 with wine vinegar and some aged vinegar to make a vinegar for everyday cooking.

这是什么“摩德纳的香醋” is, a vinegar made from a mix of 葡萄必须 and wine vinegar, produced at an industrial scale, to meet global demand for 香醋.

The culture and tradition of 香醋 is so important that the Italian government applied for and received a Protected Geographic Indication from the European Union. This means that if a bottle has the words 摩德纳的香醋 PGI (or IPG) on the label, and a special seal from the EU, the vinegar 必须 conform to a strict set of production guidelines.

PGI和IGP欧盟封条

配料 of 摩德纳的香醋

To qualify for official recognition, 摩德纳的香醋 can 只要 be made with the following ingredients:

  • Boiled 要么 concentrated 葡萄必须 (at least 20% by volume)
  • 葡萄酒醋(至少10%)
  • Natural 焦糖 (made by cooking sugar) for color (up to 2%)
  • Aged 香醋 (aged at least 10 years), an unspecified amount, usually negligible

葡萄“must” 必须 also come from grapes grown in the Emilio Romana Region in Italy, and the vinegar 必须 be produced and bottled by qualified producers in the Modena region.

什么’s the “caramel” for? Caramel (cooked sugar) is added not as a sweetener, but to darken the vinegar to make it have a look more consistent with what we think of as 香醋. There is plenty enough sugar in the 葡萄必须. Think of the 焦糖 in the ingredient list as a natural coloring agent.

Concentrated and boiled 葡萄必须 in bottles

Different colors and viscosity of cooked 葡萄必须 and concentrated 葡萄必须

Grape 必须 is Sweet, Wine Vinegar is Acidic

Note the minimum levels of 葡萄必须 (20%) and wine vinegar (10%) in the specifications.

“Must”基本上是葡萄汁。它’处于未发酵,未酸化状态的甜味。葡萄酒醋是酸性的。所以’这两个主要成分(葡萄汁和葡萄酒醋)之间的平衡决定了所产生的大部分醋’s character.

If you have a balsamic that has a greater percentage of 葡萄必须 to wine vinegar, it will taste rather sweet. If the reverse is true, it will taste more acidic.

Depending on the mix of 葡萄必须 and vinegar, the amount of aging, and other factors, producers can even make a product whose flavor and consistency mimic traditional balsamic.

Large oak barrels for aging IGP 香醋 of modena

Large oak barrels aging balsamic at Acetum, one of the largest producers of 摩德纳的香醋 PGI

年龄标签

The EU governing body that sets the standards for 摩德纳的香醋 found that too many producers were misleading consumers who associated the number of years aged with quality.

因此,他们取消了任何使用年限的指示,只允许两种:摩德纳的香醋必须在木桶中陈化至少2个月;摩德纳的香醋必须陈化至少2个月。至少3年,也放在木桶中。标签上没有其他年龄的指示。

How to use 摩德纳的香醋 PGI

摩德纳的香醋可以用作调味料沙拉,腌料或釉料的日常食醋。更轻,更酸的香脂最适合用于醋制沙拉酱。它们可以被加糖并煮沸以用作釉料。较甜,糖浆更浓的醋更适合用于腌料,调味料中,并作为菜末调味料淋在菜上。

香醋烩饭配番茄和罗勒

香醋烩饭配番茄和罗勒

香醋 (标签上未提及摩德纳)

While the tradition of making 香醋 comes from Modena, all you really need to make 香醋 is the juice from crushed grapes with the possible addition of wine vinegar. You can find many perfectly fine balsamic-style vinegars for every day use that aren’t来自摩德纳和阿雷恩’t意大利语。 (想想纳帕!)

在我的厨房里,我什至有一种完全由苹果制成的香醋风格的醋,其味道极佳。

也就是说,有些产品的名称为“balsamic vinegar” may be cheap imitations that are made with just vinegar (wine, white, 要么 cider vinegar) and added sweeteners and thickeners. Real 香醋 is either made entirely with 葡萄必须 (like traditional balsamic), 要么 is a combination of 葡萄必须 and wine vinegar (like 摩德纳的香醋 PGI).

如果您正在考虑购买香醋式醋,’如果您携带的是欧盟的官方印章,则需要检查成分清单并进行研究。

How to evaluate 香醋

除非您熟悉特定的品牌产品,否则’s difficult to tell what you are getting with 香醋. The label alone will not tell you what the vinegar is like. As with wine, you need to explore, taste, and pick which particular brands and bottles of balsamic you enjoy.

以下是一些要寻找的东西:

  • PGI印章 – A PGI (or IGP) seal on the label certifies the vinegar as official 摩德纳的香醋, meaning it conforms to regulated production and marketing standards.
  • 配料 – Good quality 香醋 should 只要 have these ingredients – 葡萄必须 and wine vinegar, and possibly 焦糖 and aged vinegar.
  • 哪种成分先出现? – If the first ingredient is wine vinegar, the balsamic will be on the tart side. If the first ingredient is 葡萄必须, the balsamic should be more mellow and sweet.
  • 黏度 –举起瓶子点燃,四处移动,里面是液体糖浆吗?如果在旋转时在瓶子的侧面留下涂层,则它会更厚,并且质量可能会更高。
  • 价钱 – In general, the higher the price, the better the quality when it comes to 香醋.

什么 is 白香脂?

白香脂醋是用葡萄汁制成的香醋,醋必须在足够低的温度下煮沸,以免葡萄汁中的糖发生焦糖化和变色。这是通过在密闭的低压环境中煮沸芥末来实现的,因此浓缩芥末所需的蒸发发生在比典型沸点温度低得多的温度下。

由于白香醋没有’t have the flavor that comes with the 焦糖ization of the grape sugars, its flavor is less complex than regular 香醋.

当你不使用白香脂做饭’不想让醋使您准备的食物变暗。

什么 is 香脂釉?

Balsamic glaze (or balsamic syrup) is reduced 香醋, often with added sugar and thickeners such as guar gum and xantham gum. It’s meant to mimic traditional 香醋, but at fraction of the cost.

You can make your own homemade balsamic glaze by adding a sweetener like sugar 要么 honey to 香醋 and simmering it until it is syrupy.

使用香醋给小菜上细雨,作为调味酱。

如何储存香醋

Does 香醋 go bad? You’re in luck! Unlike almost any other food item in your pantry, 香醋 doesn’不会变坏。像任何醋一样,您应将其保存在阴凉干燥的橱柜中,远离光线,并应盖上盖子存放。醋储存正确,将可持续数年。

这结束了我们的香醋之旅。如果您有任何疑问,请在评论中让我知道!

一千谢谢’s to the Consortium of 摩德纳的香醋, for hosting me for a grand tour of Modena Italy to learn about how 香醋 is made. Thank you’也对...的客气的东主 韦尔尼亚诺城堡 让我们深入了解了他们的古代和传统的乙炔音乐,向Ivo Piombini及其家人 Ca’del Rio restaurant 在摩德纳(Modena)向我们展示了他们的家庭阁楼醋香糖,并给了我一瓶我在出生前就开始使用的香醋,最后送给了意大利的达雷尔·科蒂(Darrell Corti) 科尔蒂兄弟 in Sacramento, California, for spending hours with me sharing his knowledge of 香醋.