The difference between barrel aged balsamic vinegar and standard balsamic vinegar is the extra time the cooked grape must spends being aged in wood barrels. We use the Solera style, where older aged balsamic barrels are topped off each year with newer balsamic. Barrel aged balsamic vinegars are required to be aged a minimum of 12 years. Reading labels can be tricky since some product descriptions state the age of the barrels, not the vinegar. This information is misleading and essentially useless because the wood barrels are not being consumed and the vinegar inside might actually be red wine vinegar rather than a true balsamic. The viscosity will increase with the time the vinegar is aged. Aging for 12 years or more allows the natural sugars from the grapes to condense and the balsamic to thicken through evaporation. The acidity decreases with aging. Barrel aged balsamic vinegar should be slightly sweet, mildly acidic, and a syrupy texture as a result of aging and not by the addition of additives.
Strawberry & Cream Angel Cake with Barrel-Aged Balsamic Drizzle:
Angel Food Cake
½ Cup Whipping Cream
½ Cup Mascarpone Cheese
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 pound Strawberries
Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Wash and slice strawberries.
Place in bowl with 2 Tbsp sugar – mix and set aside.
Whip together whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, and 1 Tbsp sugar.
Slice angel food cake – top with strawberries and a scoop of the mascarpone cream.
Finish with a drizzle of barrel aged balsamic vinegar.