I’ve learned a lot of things from my Mother, but one of the most important pieces of advice that she drilled into me is to never arrive empty handed to a dinner party. I absolutely agree on this guidance but can get stuck from time to time on what to contribute to the event. Wine can be difficult to pick out, especially if I don’t know what we’re eating. Flowers can be lovely but time-consuming to the host if they have to find a vase. Everyone loves dessert, but my delicious contribution could potentially throw off a well-planned party.
I’ve realized over time that the best gift is one that the host can continue to use long after the celebration ends. My favorite present to give right now is the Acetaia Leonardi Three Year Balsamic Vinegar along with a wedge of Parmesan Reggiano; the incredible aromas of caramel, honey, and burnt raisins found in the balsamic pair spectacularly with the nutty, sweet, umami flavors of our Parmesan Reggiano. This gift lends itself perfectly to a dinner party, serving as an impromptu appetizer, dessert, addition to a salad, or drizzle/shaving over entrees. The best part, however, is that the host can continue to use both the balsamic and cheese many more times, remembering the fantastic celebration and thoughtful gift that you contributed.
Acetaia Leonardi Balsamics are the most recent addition to our vinegar section at Bi-Rite. We were immediately blown away by these vinegars from the Leonardi family, who founded their balsamic business in 1871 in Magreta di Formigne, a few miles north of Modena, Italy. All of the balsamic from Acetaia Leonardi are made from Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes from Modena, which are then cooked in open vats to reduce and intensify the grape must. Afterwards, the must is placed in oak barrels with a Mother vinegar, which starts the fermentation and acidification process. The full barrels are then left to age with an opening covered by cheesecloth on each barrel, which allows the must to evaporate and oxidize. The vinegar is rotated and aged in a series of different wood barrels including oak, chestnut, cherry ash, and mulberry. The Leonardi’s respect for tradition, their skill and their dedication to the art of aceto balsamico result in vinegars consistently rated outstanding within the consortium. We’re so excited to now carry them at Bi-Rite!
The Leonardi’s three year Balsamic pairs perfectly with Parmesan Reggiano or can be used in salad dressings, while the 15 year Condimento accents grilled steak or pork loin, and can even be drizzled on vanilla ice cream or strawberries. Either one is a fantastic present and is certainly on my own “wish list” this year- I’m hoping that some of my dinner party “regulars” are reading this post!
Let the dinner party season begin,