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Dr. Renato Bergonzini is vice-president of the Consorzio Tra Produttori di Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and the author of numerous books on traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena. Here he shares some ideas, and a few recipes from his book, In Cucina con l'Aceto Balsamico.



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Thoughts from a 'Buongustaio'
"Traditional balsamico is without a doubt the most ecological of foods, refusing the addition of any kind of alien substance other than that which comes from the vine. The word 'balsamic' derives from certain historical events, among them the plague of 1630, in which 'il balsamico modenese' played an important role as medicine… Too many to list here are the mysterious healing powers that can be attributed to this particular type of 'vinegar.' Before antibiotics existed, the musician Giacomo Rossini wrote in his memoirs how balsamico had granted him a longer life. Lucrezia Borgia made no secret of using balsamico before, during, and after childbirth, and described its virtues as amazing. Today, scientific medical research has shown 'il balsamico' to be an extremely effective antioxidant of the blood."

Recipes

Bruschetta from the Po Valley
Spaghetti with a Special Ragout Sauce
Black Risotto Seasoned with Balsamic Vinegar
Tuna Steaks with Balsamic Vinegar
Salmon Appetizer with Balsamic Vinegar
Lamb with Balsamic Vinegar
Grilled Turkey Legs with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce
Mushrooms "Trifolati Style" with Balsamic Vinegar
Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Vinegar
Marinated Zucchini with Balsamic Vinegar
Vinaigrette with Balsamic Vinegar
Fish Sauce with Balsamic Vinegar

Tips
Although the amount used should be determined by the individual palate, a good rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon per person.
     Traditional balsamic vinegar should never be cooked, but instead added to food just before being served.