Vinegar bottle. Isolated on white background
Skip The Wine And Opt For A Balsamic Vinegar Tasting (Just Like Giada De Laurentiis)
By Allie Sivak
If you're looking to cut back on alcohol consumption or simply make food the central focus of your charcuterie board, skip the wine and try a balsamic vinegar tasting instead.
Balsamic vinegar is beloved for its syrupy-sweet, subtle, tart flavor. Different flavors develop based on many factors, like the type of wood barrel used and the aging duration.
Giada De Laurentiis recommends three balsamic options for a tasting: a young vinegar aged for three years, an older 12-year-aged balsamic, and a fruit-infused "wild card” option.
A general rule of thumb is to offer cheese, fruits, meats, and vegetables that provide complementary flavors to the rich, subtle sweetness of the balsamic vinegar.
To avoid overwhelming the taste buds, keep the portions simple and bite-sized. Try offering palate cleansers between tastings, such as rustic bread or unflavored sparkling waters.
A young, acidic vinegar pairs well with earthy vegetables and hearty bread. Longer-aged balsamic is best drizzled over fatty cheese like parmesan or Manchego.
For the wild card, try a fruit-infused balsamic, such as cherry or fig, and balance the sweetness with a milky burrata. In the summer, play around with white balsamic vinegar.