Whether you are a ‘foodie’ or just someone who likes to have the ingredients to give a salad a bit of sparkle, you’ll know that not all balsamic vinegar is made the same. Although it is a staple ingredient in many meals that can brighten up the taste with a bit of a tang, if might not be aged for the right amount of time, or falsely claim to be from the reputable regions.

Although it originates from Italy, companies around the world are trying to emulate the unique taste although not many come close to the real thing. This is why we have identified the best balsamic vinegar in the world, to make sure you end up with a great tasting product that you want to use as much as you can. Some of them are from the famous regions, with a couple of surprises in there as well.

Quick Summary of Balsamic Vinegars

 Editor’s Choice 
QO Organic Thick Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena | 4% Acidity
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 Best With Decanter 
Due Vittorie Oro Gold Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.in Glass Decanter
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 Best Luxury 
Giuseppe Giusti Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Di Modena
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 Best Value 
Ellora Farms | Greek Balsamic Vinegar
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 Best Gift 
Oliviers & Co Premium Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
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 Best For Special Occasions 
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Traditional 25 year old DOP certified
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QO Organic Thick Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena | 4% Acidity

 Editor’s Choice 

Top of our list is this quality product and it impresses in every way you would hope a balsamic vinegar would. To start with, it is certified organic so you know it is going to be one of the purest forms possible and because of the 4% acidity, it will please most pallets.

Then there is the fact that it is from the Modena region of Italy so the quality is ensured. The tangy sweetness is something that keeps people coming back to it and we like it because of all its qualities, but also because it is still affordable for a luxury product. If you want something a little different, it also comes in different fashions including hot chili, raspberry, citrus, and more.

PROS:

  • From the Modena region of Italy
  • Certified organic
  • 4% acidity
  • Attractive bottle
CONS:

Due Vittorie Oro Gold Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.in Glass Decanter

 Best With Decanter 

A world-famous balsamic vinegar that almost looks as beautiful as it tastes. In Italy, this is the best selling product in its niche and any home chef would appreciate its quality so it makes a great gift. What really impresses is that it is 100% natural, with no added preservatives, flavors, caramels, or anything you wouldn’t expect to be in a true Modena balsamic vinegar.

This version comes with a free pourer that has a cork top, just like the bottle. A lot of people know it from featuring on Masterchef and restaurants across Italy use it, to the benefit of the customers who get to savor the deep browns, full-bodied sweetness, and balanced after taste of blades cherry.

PROS:

  • 100% natural
  • Balsamic vinegar of Modena
  • Includes pourer
  • Impressive bottle
  • Featured on Masterchef
CONS:

Giuseppe Giusti Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Di Modena

 Best Luxury 

With the appearance of a fine whiskey, this popular balsamic vinegar certainly jumps off the shelf at you. It is made with an ancient process of cooking sun-dried grapes that are selected from Modena or Reggio Emilia. Aged for a minimum of 12 years, the quality is a long time in the making so nothing is rushed in the deep browns and complex flavors.

The company was founded in 1605 so it has more than a few centuries of experience to bring to the table. Named as one of the 101 products you have to try before you die, it is an award-winning product and is IGP certified so you know it is a genuine product from reputable regions.

PROS:

  • Made using an ancient process
  • Award winning balsamic vinegar
  • Complex taste with fruit jam flavors
CONS:

  • Can be expensive for some people

Ellora Farms | Greek Balsamic Vinegar

 Best Value 

Although it originates from Italy, there are some reputable balsamic vinegar producers around the world, and one of them is Crete. Another Mediterranean climate, this balsamic vinegar spray is 100% natural which makes it free-from caramels, preservatives, and sulfates.

The sweet and sour taste is a favorite in many homes which only adds to the value that you get from this 2-pack of glass bottles. Aged for six months in oak barrels it is an affordable way of getting your hands on a delicious balsamic vinegar. Of course, because it originates from Crete, the makers are going to advise that it tastes great on a Greek salad, at the price, it is tempting.

PROS:

  • 100% natura
  • 2-pack is good value
  • Aged for six months in oak barrels
CONS:

  • Bottles aren’t reusable

Oliviers & Co Premium Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

 Best Gift 

When it comes to balsamic vinegar, a premium product often comes at a premium price but in this easy to love bottle you certainly get what you pay for. Combining a rich and intense taste, it is bottled in Haute-Provence once the grapes have been picked from the Modena region of Italy.

There is no coloring, artificial flavors, or additives, making it 100% natural. With no bitterness, Oliver & Co. takes pride in their traditional production methods which is why this has proven to be one of their most popular products. Aged for a long time in premium wooden barrels, it can be enjoyed on several dishes, even vanilla ice cream!

PROS:

  • 100% natural
  • Grapes from Modena
  • Reputable brand
CONS:

  • Not organic, although they do have an organic version

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Traditional 25 year old DOP certified

 Best For Special Occasions 

Aged for 25 years, this is no ordinary bottle of balsamic vinegar. This is reflected in the price tag which might make it something you break out on a special occasion. Because of its origins and production methods, this is the only type of bottle you can buy that is a guaranteed traditional bottle of Modena balsamic vinegar.

With the highest-scoring rating possible it is the variant known as Extra Vecchio and is known for being among the world’s best tasting. Before bottling, aeries of industry experts taste it for quality. It comes as part of a gift box that includes a recipe book and a pourer that comes with a ‘best taste or your money back’ guarantee. It’s a shame that all premium products don’t offer the same.

PROS:

  • Has the world’s best scoring possible
  • Unique bottle
  • Includes pourer and recipe book
  • DOP certified
CONS:

  • Can be expensive for some people

Balsamic Vinegar Guide

If you talk to anyone in Italy, balsamic vinegar is more than an ingredient. Also, only grapes sourced from Modena can call itself true balsamic, and there are plenty of imitators. Although it is not the only quality source it is often heralded as the birthplace of a genuine product, the real deal.

To make sure you get a quality bottle of balsamic vinegar into your kitchen, you need to know what to expect from a good product. We have created the following guide to help make things a bit easier.

What To Look For In Balsamic Vinegar

D.O.P Certification

If you are buying a balsamic vinegar with the word Modena or Reggio Emilia on the bottle, you want to know that it is a genuine product. One way of proving this is through D.O.P (Denominazione di Origine Protetta). This guarantees its place of origin, as well as its quality.

Color and Texture

Look for dark browns that are glossy and thick that don’t move on a plate, move droop like a syrup. You’ll know what the shop-bought products look like, but expect deeper and richer browns with the quality bottles.

Unique Bottle

This isn’t a major deal-breaker for everyone but a genuine, traditional balsamic vinegar will come in a bottle with a certain shape (more on that later). Otherwise, it is perfectly reasonable to be drawn to a balsamic vinegar’s bottle. There are plenty of eye-catching designs that make an excellent gift for a food enthusiast or a loved one.

I.G.P Certification

This rating comes from within the European Union and means the product is made from varieties of grapes found in Modena such as Trebbiano, Lambrusco, Fortana, and others. The origins of the grapes can be from outside the region, in fact anywhere, with the production process being undertaken within Modena.

What Does Balsamic Vinegar Go With?

Although it is a versatile ingredient that can complement various dishes, some people advise that different types of balsamic vinegar are better suited to particular foods.

In general, balsamic vinegar tends to go well with soft cheeses, salads, fresh pasta, cooked meats, and even ice cream.

How To Store Balsamic Vinegar

A traditional, genuine product won’t spoil over time but to preserve its unique flavors it is always best to keep it in a cool dry place. You should expect to be able to keep a special bottle for years and still enjoy the fine taste.

Keep it airtight as well as leaving the lid or cork off can cause it to lose some of its flavors.

What Are The Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar?

It is no surprise that the Mediterranean diet is often linked with longevity in some way or another. Balsamic might have something to do with it, considering the following benefits:

Lower Cholesterol – By keeping cholesterol levels down, balsamic vinegar helps to prevent cardiac arrest and obesity. The antioxidants work to prevent clogged arteries and keep cholesterol under control.

Digestive System – The acetic acid in balsamic vinegar which works as a probiotic to improve digestive health.

Blood Sugar – Consuming balsamic vinegar as part of a meal can help to prevent your blood sugar levels from fluctuating after eating.

Immunity Boost – Because it contains polyphenols, balsamic vinegar can give a boost to our immune system.

Where Is Balsamic Vinegar Made?

To call itself a genuine balsamic vinegar, Italians won’t look twice unless it is from the famed Modena or Reggio Emilia regions. To keep with traditional practices, a Modena balsamic vinegar must be sold in a 100ml bottle that is bulb-shaped, and for Reggio Emilia, if it is traditional balsamic vinegar it must be 100ml inverted tulip-shaped bottle.

Different Types of Balsamic Vinegar

To the uninitiated, it might come as a surprise that balsamic vinegar covers three main types that are different from one another.

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Typically the more expensive of the three, traditional balsamic vinegar and will not contain any preservatives or additives. Look on the label for the words Aceto balsamico tradizionale. Buying a traditional balsamic vinegar might cost more but you unlock all the health benefits that the others strip out.

Anything with additives can have the opposite effect on your health.

Commercial Balsamic Vinegar

It is affordable because the process in which it is made does not take as long and contains artificial ingredients. To give it an authentic texture and taste it might contain caramel and other flavors to make it more appealing as well as wine vinegar. This dilutes the quality so don’t expect it to taste like the real thing.

Condimentio Balsamic Vinegar

Quite often, this type of balsamic vinegar will be a mix of the previous two. It will often be aged but not for as long as the traditional variety even though it will contain a certain level of traditional vinegar. Look for a product that is produced outside of the two powerhouse regions as an indicator for a product that should be considered Condimento Balsamic Vinegar.

Can Balsamic Vinegar Go Bad?

Although balsamic vinegar does not go bad, over time it will lose some of the quality and flavor but will be edible for some time. The best thing you can do to prolonge its best years is by keeping it in a cool dry place and preventing exposure to air.

How To Use Balsamic Vinegar

With certain ingredients, there is no right or wrong way to use them as part of a meal. When it comes to using balsamic vinegar, there are certain things to remember to make sure you enjoy it to its full potential.

Because a traditional balsamic vinegar will have a more complex and full flavor you need less of it so pour it drop by drop whereas you can use those that are not aged for so long less sparingly.

Don’t cook with balsamic vinegar as high temperatures negatively impact the health benefits and flavor. If using it on a hot pasta dish or cooked meat, applying as close to eating as possible.

When using balsamic vinegar and olive oil, apply the vinegar first or the oil won’t allow it to spread.