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Oli and Ve – Premium Olive Oil & Vinegars

While driving through old town Roswell, Ga, the other day we stopped at a completely unique and totally fun, shop called Oli+Ve Premium Oils & Vinegars.  Jughandle has only recommended a handful of places to our readers.  This is one to pay close attention to.

As the name suggests, the owners are proprietors of fine Olive Oils and Vinegar.  We here on the Farm have been searching high and low for a good consistent  reasonably priced source for olive oil for a long time.  The bonus with Oli + Ve is the amazing collection of  quality balsamic vinegars.

If you click on the link above you will be taken to the shop’s online store where you can purchase and have shipped to your home, their products.  Obviously, you will realize a saving of at least the shipping cost by visiting either of their two stores.  They also have cooking classes and recipes available.

olive oil pics

Olive Oils

The available oils vary by season and range from mild to full intensity flavors.  This being the winter season in the US, the available oils are from Sicily, Australia, Portugal and Chile.  You can sample as many of the oils as you would like to, try that at Kroger, with the recommendation of the owners to go from mild to medium to Robust flavors and then to the flavored oil and finally the vinegars. Prices for the oils are $9.95 for a 200 ml bottle, $17.95 for a 375 ml bottle and $29.95 for the large 750 ml bottle.

All of the offered oils are of the Extra Virgin or EVOO type, which is the highest quality oil available.  While the “single” variety EVOO had 9 different oils to chose from at our visit, there are also a number of Flavored or infused oils ranging in flavor from Basil to Blood Orange, Butter, Cilantro & Roasted Onion, garlic and Eureka Lemon.  To be honest we were a touch overwhelmed by all our options, so we chose to sample just the single variety and a handful of the vinegars on this trip.

Also offered are 4 specialty oils which we chose not to sample this time, but I look forward to on our next visit.  Those are Almond oil, Sesame, Walnut and White Truffle oil.  The first three sell for $18.95 and the White Truffle for $38.95 in a 375 ml bottle, which seem very reasonable to me.

Vinegars

While we were drawn to the shop for it’s olive oil, be became extremely excited about their vinegars.  Where to start?  Well, first of all balsamic vinegar MUST be made in Modena, Italy to be true, balsamic vinegar, just as Champagne is just sparkling wine if it doesn’t come from Champagne France.

Oli+Ve offer dark balsamic vinegars in around 25 different flavors.  I tried, Fig, Dark Chocolate, Blackberry Ginger, and Peach.  There were too many for one visit, but their website will list all of them.  Oh, ALL of the ones I tasted were KILLER.  Some flavors would make great desert sauces, some would be great BBQ sauces.  I tried the Cinnamon Pear on an ice cream sample I was offered. WOW!

Specialty vinegars include, premium white vinegar and red wine vinegar.

Keep in mind that you aren’t buying cheap boiled down vinegar with added sugar.  You are getting barrel aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy.

 

Our Purchases

We bought, a 750 ml bottle of the Robust, Organic Mission from California, which had just arrived, for every day use.  I got a 200 ml bottle of Eureka Lemon EVOO for dressings, and a 200 ml bottle of Fig Balsamic vinegar.  My wife, Darlene bought Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar for desert use.  We can’t wait to go back.  As another bonus, we received 6 check offs against our frequent shopper card that will get us a free bottle after 10 checks.  That won’t be hard at all. Oh, oh, oh, you can also bring back your clean bottle to be refilled and receive a $1 off.

I want everyone to frequent this shop, because quality products like these are hard to find and I’d like them to stay in business for a long time.  And make sure you tell them Jughandle’s Fat Farm sent you.  – jughandle

 

 

Silk Purse out of a Pigs ear

They (the proverbial they) say you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  I beg to differ.  I’m going to show you how to make the best Balsamic vinegar you ever had (within reason) out of the cheapest balsamic vinegar you can buy.

Considered a wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar is made from un-fermented grape pressings, not wine.  The pressings are boiled down to a syrup and aged by rules, hundreds of years old.  The real deal balsamic, only made in two provinces of Emilia-Romagna, Modena and Reggio Emilia, is then placed in unsealed oak barrels with a vinegar “mother” and allowed to turn to vinegar.  As it ages the mother will reduce the amount of liquid available and that liquid, now vinegar, will be transferred to barrels made from different woods to add to the complexity of the flavor profile over years.  This process takes a minimum of 12 years by law and as much as 100.  The 100 year aged Grande Vecchio vinegar below has been treated in just such a way.

Balsamic vinegar like the one pictured above goes for $361.00 for 2.4 oz on line.  I’m sure it would be amazing, but I can’t afford nor justify spending that much money on vinegar, no matter how good it might be.  Good “real” aged balsamic vinegars can be sipped straight from the bottle like a fine liqueur.  But wait, there is another process, a more modern process, to make balsamic vinegar that takes hours instead of years, even if it doesn’t qualify as the real thing.

The modern method uses huge presses, heat and adds sugar instead of letting time reduce and concentrate the natural sweetness of the grapes.  This grocery store stuff is not to be consumed straight from the bottle in a good crystal glass, but treated properly it can be very nice for dressings and cooking and will cost you less than $6 per liter.

Method

The thing to do is to find a large bottle of nice acidic, sweet, inexpensive grocery store balsamic vinegar and reduce it to a syrup by gently boiling it down for a couple of hours.  Just pour the whole bottle into a sauce pan and bring to a slow rolling boil.  Make sure you save a little to taste the difference.  Reduce by at least 1/2.  I bring it down by 3/4.  But God knows, don’t burn it.  It smells terrible.  Let it cool and then use it over meat or in dressings.  Taste the difference, you’ll love it.  Note: when it cools it will be much thicker.  I’d start by reducing only by 1/2 if it is your first try at it.

 

Recommended Brands

This isn’t really as important as you might think.  Find a nice bottle and try it as I suggested.  If it works great, if it doesn’t try another.  You’ll only be out $3-6 but when you find the one that works stick with it, you’ll use it a lot.

 

Farm on, you Fat Farmers let me know what you think – Jughandle