Answer: It depends. Traditional balsamic vinaigrette is vegan, while commercial ones aren’t.
Most people nowadays are more concerned about their food intake. Balsamic vinaigrette is a popular ingredient in food preparation, especially in salad dressing, marinades, and sauce. People use this vinegar over ordinary vinegar because of the proven health benefits and advantages it gives to our bodies.
What Is Balsamic Vinaigrette?
Before we discuss if balsamic vinaigrette is vegan or not let us first know what this vinaigrette is and where it came from.
Balsamic vinegar was first made in Northern Italy in the middle ages. Official balsamic vinegar comes only from two places in Italy, Modena and Reggio Emilia.
These two regions in Italy are the only places that produce balsamic vinegar. History noted that the first balsamic vinaigrette started in 1046. This classic vinegar is so popular even before the old times, it was used as a gift to royal people like emperors. Today, it is widely used among famous chefs and restaurants.
Two Types Of Balsamic Vinaigrette
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Also known as aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena DOP and aceto balsamico tradizionale di Reggio Emilia DOP, this type of balsamic vinegar is sweet, rich in flavor, and made only with one ingredient – “grape mosto” or grape must. This is made of white grape boiled in water, reduced, pressed together, and fermented to produce concentrated juice and stored in a wood barrel over a long period. This is the first and most authentic way of producing this kind of vinegar. The longer it is stored the better the quality it offers. This is called the “slow process”, this will be stored for at least 12 years to be considered a traditional balsamic vinaigrette. Somewhere around 150 years is the oldest record. See here.
Commercial Balsamic Vinaigrette
This is the balsamic vinegar you mostly see in your supermarkets and online stores. This is light in color, not very sweet, and processed by fast-producing manufacturing companies.
This is an imitation of a real balsamic vinaigrette and it is of low quality. It is processed in a very short period, some only take a few years and even just a few months. This degrades the quality of the real authentic balsamic vinaigrette.
Is Balsamic Vinegar Vegan?
Yes, but only if it is traditionally made. The additional ingredients the manufacturer adds to make commercial balsamic vinegar close to the original are not vegan.
Is Balsamic Vinegar Healthy?
Considering the most health-conscious consumers’ demands become higher as years go by, mothers prefer healthy food around the table for their families and famous chefs and restaurants prefer the use of this vinegar over ordinary vinegar.
People like this vinegar because of its milder flavor perfect for their menu, and the effort and time it is processed by trusted manufacturing companies in Italy to make it more special.
More and more people are conscious of the quality of food they take, households give more priority to their health wellness among any other problems every day.
According to Forbes, 54% of all consumers, 63% of which are 50+, care more about the healthfulness of the food choices in 2020 than they did in 2010.
18% of Americans use a Healthy App monitoring device to track their daily exercise and healthy food diet. 28% eat more protein from the plant source and eat more plant-based food.74% limit their sugar intake. See here.
People are more aware of the danger of the bad food intake in our body because new diseases arise as time goes by because of the different food and new chemicals and ingredients content of some food. This is not impossible to know because the information privilege that we have today is just a click away. Along with this, brilliant business owners started to recognize and appreciate the benefits of balsamic vinegar, the demand of supply for this product becomes higher and higher and the company that produces this also increase.
Before, the only regions that produced balsamic vinegar were Modena and Reggio Emelia, but today several companies are also producing good balsamic vinegar.
Top 5 Brands Of Balsamic Vinegar
- San Giacomo Aged Balsamic Vinegar – This is produced by Andrea Bezzecchi in Reggio Emilia. According to Tim Bucciarelli, the director of the operation in Italian-specialty food store Formaggio Kitchen, it is exceptional. $185 for 100ml.
- Newman’s own brand Balsamic Vinaigrette – This is not too sour, not too sweet BV won most of the taster test. It records the top score among BV. $3 for 16 oz. bottles.
- Kens Steak House Balsamic Vinegar – Ken’s earn high remarks on its viscosity and texture that are good for the salad. $2.78 for 473 ml.
- Kraft Balsamic Dressing – This dressing was described to be salty, tangy, and vinegary. This has a robust balsamic flavor. $2 for a 16 oz. bottle.
- Maple Grove FarmSugar-Freee Balsamic Vinaigrette – This is a delicious BV. No need to worry about your sugar intake with this vinegar. $4 for an 8 oz. bottle.
Benefits Of Balsamic Vinegar
- Promotes Digestion
- Promotes Weight Loss
- It Is Antibacterial/Antiviral
- Improves Metabolism
- Has Anti-Aging Properties
- Good For Heart And Lowers Blood Pressure
- Good For Bones
- Regulates Blood Sugar
Risks And Side Effects
- Drinking pure balsamic vinegar will hurt your throat and may cause inflammation to the esophagus.
- When you swallow too much balsamic vinegar, it may also cause stomach pain.
No matter these negative effects, if used in moderation, balsamic vinegar is the healthiest vinegar dressing for your salads.
How To Choose Balsamic Vinaigrette
This is a quick guide to make you a savvy shopper. We all know that traditional balsamic vinegar has more benefits than modern ones. Here’s a to-do list that you have to follow!
- Authentic balsamic vinegar consists only of wine must or grape must.
- Balsamic vinegar of Modena is sealed with the Italian Growers Association.
- Traditional balsamic vinegar is sold per 100ml bottle only. Be aware that some fake the age of the bottle in their vinegar to make it look authentic.
- Tilt the bottle to see its viscosity, if it’s syrupy it means it has a higher quality blend.
There have been many kinds of balsamic vinegar available in the market today, because of the higher demand for this product. Business companies innovate vinegar and now it has other categories and types to choose from.
Balsamic vinegar has proven health benefits. It may be the most expensive vinegar in the world, but it is guaranteed to be worth the penny. To check the authenticity of the vinegar, make sure to see the label and follow the basic guidelines on identifying real balsamic vinegar.