This is a two-part post. A review of Gourmet Living‘s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena followed by Crock Pot (Slow Cooker) Balsamic Chicken.
Gourmet Living‘s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
I’ve always been a fan of balsamic vinegars, just love the richer vinegar taste and flavor that it imparts to dishes whether the main dish or side dish or something else. I’ve had gourmet balsamic vinegars before, as well, but only those that I could pick up at my local grocers, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, or similar. I think the most I’ve paid for a bottle was maybe $9-13, so not your high end, but not the very bottom either. Of course, I didn’t know exactly what I was missing until I tasted this one. OH.MY.GOD…
But before I get to the taste, first to the product and physical descriptions.
Product description from Gourmet Living:
“Authentic balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy and certified IGP by the Italian Growers Consortium. Cook like an Italian chef. A few drops of IGP balsamic transforms home cooking into a work of art. Barrel-aged wine must and wine vinegar from Italy with important health and nutritional benefits.”
The box comes a little dusty, as does the inner bottle, due to shelving and shipping, and I was told this beforehand. It’s not a big deal as the inner content is completely intact and perfect. I also think this “dusty” appearance has a charm to it, bringing to mind vintage bottles of wine – by this you just know they have been aging and percolating and getting all happy as they sat there waiting and developing their full-bodied flavors. Even so, they’re updating their packaging, you may or may not get this “dusty” effect if you purchase it soon. If you do get that “dusty” affect, appreciate it! I know I do!
The bottle has a cap that is topped with a wax seal and tied down with string, which you cut/break in order to pull up the top – the cap also has an inner cork/stopper. The cork/stopper part on mine separated from the cap, but everything still works fine, I can still insert/remove the cork/stopper and the cap still fits over it to ensure that the contents remain fresh.
The opening isn’t very big, maybe about a quarter inch or less, to ensure that you don’t dump the entire thing out at one time.
Now the vinegar itself looks dark and seductive. It is thicker than your run of the mill grocery store balsamic. It’s not as thick as say molasses, but almost as thick as a syrup or a reduction. Thick enough to lightly coat a spoon, but not so thick that it doesn’t drip, if that makes sense.
I was curious about the age of this, but someone had already asked about that on Amazon, so I’ll post that here:
“What is the age of this Balsamic Vinegar?
Only balsamic vinegars that are certified ‘Traditional Balsamic Vinegar’ by the Italian consortium are permitted to show ages on their bottle: either 12 or 25 years. Balsamic vinegar certified IGP by the Italian Consortium (as in the case of this brand) may be bottled after the wine must has been aged 60 days or more. In effect, the aged wine must is combined with wine vinegar to produce balsamic vinegar. The higher the percentage of wine vinegar to wine must, the lower the price. It would be against Consortium policies to say precisely “the age” of this particular balsamic vinegar, but I can assure you that it has been barrel-aged several years and has also been mixed with barrel-aged wine vinegar to produce an exceptionally deep balsamic vinegar with an acidity level of 6%. It is far more syrupy than most balsamic vinaigrettes.” Answered by Gourmet Living.
Here’s where we get to the flavor! I get so excited thinking about it! The other balsamic vinegars that I have tasted cannot even be compared to this. It is rich with a tangy bite, yet has a sweet, almost syrupy flavor. It is soooooo good and I am totally in love with it!
I was joking to my son that I could drink the whole thing, it’s that good, but of course that probably wouldn’t be wise. This stuff is amazing, truly. I think I’ve been trying to put it in just about everything! I’ve had it in the recipe below, but I was stingy and didn’t want to use an entire 3/4 cup in the recipe so only used 1/4 and used another balsamic for the other 1/2. I didn’t know if I’d like the recipe and didn’t want to waste it, you know what I mean... I’ve also used it as a dipping sauce for bread with that EVOOs from the Try The World Spain and Holiday Boxes, along with some garlic and spices. Used it over some Sunburst tomatoes. And tonight I added it to some ground meat mixture to make gourmet hamburgers. I want to keep eating it! Haha.
Anyway, I highly recommend this if you like balsamic vinegars, it’s completely worth it! There are probably others out there that taste just as good, if not better, but to date this is the absolute best one that I have ever tried – including those in restaurants! I’m tempted to get another bottle before this limited production runs out.
I feel like I’m addicted to it now! Balsamic vinegar… the new drug. 😉
*Disclaimer: The balsamic vinegar was given to me complimentary in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This evaluation and review is an accounting of my true opinions and experiences, and is written in the same manner as if I had bought it at full-price, been given as a gift, or received as a sample.
You can purchase the balsamic vinegar on Amazon:
- Gourmet Living Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, 8.5 fl oz for $28.50 + free Prime shipping.
Price and availability current as of the time of writing this post.
Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken
For the dish below, I used this recipe on foodiecrush as a reference. If you’re wondering why I don’t copy the recipe down in my post, it’s because I think it’s better if you have access to the original via a link and you can check it out yourselves. It’s more out of courtesy to the original recipe owner/creator. Plus I have modifications.
I didn’t have frozen pearl onions, instead sliced up regular onions and tossed that into my crockpot. The recipe called for rosemary, but rosemary is one of the rare herbs that I don’t like – I can tolerate it, but if I can I leave it out. For seasonings I decided to go with sassafras (or gumbo file), garlic powder, onion powder, and a bay leaf. I think that was all.
I was too lazy to brown the chicken first, so I just put it in raw. And added the mixture of balsamic vinegar (1/4 c of the Gourmet Living Balsamic Vinegar of Modena + 1/2 c of another brand), organic chicken stock, tomato paste, and brown sugar. Then seasoned it with salt and pepper.
I don’t know about you, but I think roasted garlic and tomatoes are awesome. [done previous to starting the crockpot] I covered a head of garlic and a bunch of campari tomatoes with the EVOO from the Try The World Holiday box and a little salt and tossed it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
I rough chopped the tomatoes (less the skins since they were peeling off already anyway) and most of the garlic (three cloves I left whole).
Then tossed that into the crock pot with the chicken.
Put the cover on and turned the crock pot on high for 4 hours. I did it longer than the recipe said to because my chicken thighs were still slightly frozen and I didn’t sear them. Also about a half hour before the time went off I added in some chopped kale.
I served the balsamic chicken over a bed of broccoli risotto with a slice of oven toasted garlic bread. I meant to drizzle more of the balsamic over the dish before I took the pic, but forgot to.