Wednesday, December 10, 2008


As with oils, there are a huge number of vinegars, each with a different use. I have a crazy amount of them even though I have stayed away from herb-infused ones. Fortunately, unlike oil, vinegar keeps pretty much forever.

Red Wine
. I keep a good Italian one (there are no exceptional ones), like Colavita. For French I use Orléans, which is available at good gourmet stores, and Banyuls, which is hard to find.

White Wine. I use French only, and try to get good quality, not infused with tarragon

Sherry. I rarely use it although many salad dressing recipes call for it. Even good quality isn't too expensive, so I buy pretty good stuff.

Balsamic. I confess that I don't really like it because I find it too sweet and assertive. That being said, there are innumerable recipes that call for it so I keep decent quality stuff and cut it by at least 1/2 with red wine vinegar. Sometimes great amounts of cheap stuff are called for, and I'll just buy a bottle.

The really great stuff is another thing altogether, being complex and syrupy rather than sweet. Great just drizzled over vanilla ice cream!

There is a pretty nice and inexpensive (because not aged long at all) condiment called white balsamic vinegar. Worth experimenting with.

Tomato. I love tomato vinegar, which is vinegar made from tomatoes and not a flavored wine vinegar. This inexpensive product, which is made by a company called Mutti, can be found, with difficulty, in NY (they have it at Kalustyan's). I use it blended with red wine vinegar in salad dressing (1 part tomato to 2 or 3 parts wine).
It adds body without the sweetness of balsamic.

Many recipes call for this. It is easy to find and not expensive, so recommended if space permits.

Another one that is frequently called for in recipes. Keep some if you have room. Get a French one, not Heinz or equivalent, unless you need tons of it.

Rice or Rice Wine. Necessary for Asian and Asian-inspired cuisine, such as miso salad dressings.

Interesting vinegars make nice house gifts when you are invited to dinner. If you are really rich, bring the very old balsamic vinegar; otherwise any one that sounds interesting.

Bobby Jay

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