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WHICH ARE THE BEST VINEGARS TO IMPROVE MY COOKING?

WHICH ARE THE BEST VINEGARS TO IMPROVE MY COOKING?
Most people think of vinegar only as a component in salad dressing, and while the vinaigrette will always have a place in our kitchen, vinegar can do so much more. Acid is a crucial element in cooking, and using it properly can balance richness, saltiness and sweetness. It can add complex layers that wake up an otherwise one-note dish.

Here is our list of go-to flavor-makers. 

Red Wine Vinegar

Fruity and bold, this is our everyday vinegar. Made of red wine that is allowed to ferment until it finally turns sour, red wine vinegar has a number of uses. It's an ideal ingredient in salad dressings, sauces, slow cooker recipes, marinades, making reductions and for pickling. Add a little wine vinegar at the start or end of roasting vegetables enhances the flavors and unites them. I always use red wine vinegars to finish hearty stews, ragù and roast meats.

Champagne Vinegar

Champagne vinegar is made from—you guessed it—champagne that has been fermented. Of all the types of vinegar, it has the lightest flavor, which is both tart and sweet. Champagne vinegar tastes great in salads, on braised pork, as well as chicken. Champagne vinegar is best for seafood salad dressings or deglazing the pan when cooking fish and pork chops. Add garlic and fresh ginger, then allow your fish or chop to sit in the marinade and let the flavors develop. 

Balsamic Vinegar

This is one of the more complicated vinegars on our list. The process of making traditional balsamic is unique—it’s probably the only grape-based vinegar that isn’t made directly from wine: No, it’s made from the grape must (crushed grape juice). The must is reduced to give it a higher sugar ratio, then fermented and aged from one to five years in various wood barrels. The result is sweeter and slightly thicker than most vinegars.    

Balsamic's sweet, aromatic palate is a treat when mixed into caramelized onions, dressings, sauces or even reduced into a glaze and drizzled over berries, cakes, or custards. 
Drizzle it over pears, hard cheese and charcuterie or use it as a finishing touch to soups. For a deliciously flavored dressing, add a little balsamic to the oils released from roasted meats. Balsamic vinegar is quite tasty drizzled on top of mozzarella cheese (just add some tomatoes and a basil leaf). Of course, at its simplest, balsamic vinegar can be mixed with extra virgin olive oil for an easy dip.

Which vinegar should you use?

The most important thing to remember when choosing a vinegar is the source of the flavor. For example, red wine vinegar started as grapes, so it's safe to assume it will taste a bit like grapes, with sweet, fruity notes. Accordingly, 
wine vinegars are compatible with fruits. The sweetness of pears, peaches or whatever you're using will enjoy that kiss of acidity. 

Not all vinegars are made equally, so you can't use one flavor for everything. Do you need them all? No. As a rule, we recommend maintaining your pantry with at least three good-quality vinegars; a red wine, white wine and balsamic, as these are some of the world's greatest flavor-makers. 


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