Balsamic Vinegar | The Process

Balsamic vinegar How It's Made

The sweet type of vinegar-based dressing known as Balsamic Vinegar originates from a region in Italy known as Modena. Balsamic has become a staple in local cuisine and the distinguished flavor has made the region world famous.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is made from Trebbiano grapes and occasionally, Lambrusca grapes. Through years of experimentation, it was discovered that these grapes were not well suited for wines, so the Italians were pressed to find another use for them. The process of creating the vinegar was similar to that of wine, and it’s discovery happened quite by accident.

Today, the process of creating balsamic vinegar is almost the same as it was back when it was first created. Wine barrels made from woods such as mulberry, chestnut, oak, or cherry are collected. The type of wood chosen for the barrel correlates to the resulting flavor of the balsamic. Next, the grapes are harvested at the peak of ripeness. Each barrel is filled with the ripe grapes.

If you have ever seen (or participated in) grape squashing, you know what comes next. Today, grapes are squashed using machines – but historically, villagers would get together and stomp on the grapes with their bare feet until they were turned into a pulp and juice.

The resulting grape mush is pressed through a sieve so that the juice is separated from the pulp and skin of the grapes. The juice is boiled in large kettles for a full 24 hours. It is during this point that most of the liquid evaporates from the juice and it is turned into a sweet syrup known as mosto.

The mosto is then fermented and aged in the wooden barrels for 6 or more months. During this time, more liquid is allowed to evaporate. Like wine, the longer a balsamic ages, the “better” it is. Our balsamic vinegar is a combination of 16 to 18 year barrel aged balsamic with a very low acidity. The special aging process makes it very smooth with no bite.

Once the aging process is complete, the balsamic is transferred to glass bottles (like ours!) and sold in markets across the world.

Congratulations, you are an expert in the aging process of balsamic vinegar!

 

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Summer BBQ Idea | Grilling Fruit

Grilling Fruits | Summertime BBQ Ideas | Tavern on the GreenGrilling season is in full swing. During the weekend barbeques the burgers will be slinging and the hot dogs sizzling. Aside from the traditional grilling essentials, we’d like to encourage you to expand your repertoire this summer season. Grilled veggies are an excellent way to add some variety to your meal, but have you ever tried grilling fruit? The heat from the grill brings out the sweet flavor from the natural fruit sugars. Few people get beyond the fruit salad to experiment further, but it’s really quite simple and can add a whole new dimension to your barbeque. Drizzle in a bit of balsamic and you’ll be having a whole other-worldly fruit experience. Check out our list below to see which unexpected fruits made the cut for the best on the grill.

Bananas

Be sure to peel the banana first, cut it in half lengthwise, and lay cut-side-down on the grill. Serve with a side of creamy vanilla ice cream and fresh cherries. Mmmmmm!

Peaches

Cut in half and poke with a fork- marinade for an hour with Tavern Blackberry Ginger. Grill face up to hold the Balsamic

Actually, any stone fruit is excellent on the grill. Plums, apricots, peaches… all of them. Simply section each fruit in half and place on the grill face down.

Watermelon

Large, steak sized watermelon filets are amazing on the grill. A just-ripe watermelon makes for the best grilling. For watermelon salad: drizzle the grilled watermelon with Tavern Citrus Balsamic and mix with mint leaves, mache greens, sea salt, and feta cheese. It’ll be a huge hit at any summer celebration.

Pineapple

Similar to watermelon, a grilled pineapple grills beautifully in filets. Add as a burger topper, or as a dessert accent. Fresh pineapple work better than canned.

 

Preparation:

To prepare your fruits for grilling, you will want to wash, peel, and soak them in water for 15 minutes to prevent burns. Brushing them in a vegetable oil will help to ensure they won’t stick to the grill. When the fruits are cooked all the way through, transfer them to a serving dish and drizzle in a delicious balsamic vinegar.

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The Many Uses for Balsamic Vinegar

balsamic vinegar usesIf you’re looking for a bang-for-your-buck cooking ingredient, look no further than balsamic vinegar. Here at Tavern on the Green Intl., we have great, authentic balsamic for sale online. Wondering what you’ll use it for? It’s no secret that balsamic vinegar makes a tasty salad dressing, but you may not realize the expansive usefulness of the condiment.

Firstly, balsamic vinegar can be used to flavor an array of meats. Pair it with whiskey, and you’ve got a steak marinade. Use it when braising pork. Cook it with chicken and garlic. Glaze salmon with it. Sear scallops with it. The list goes on.

Vegetarians, rejoice. Mixed vegetables roasted in balsamic vinegar offer a fresh twist on a classic stir-fry recipe. Vegetables like mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are especially tasty after being sautéed in equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Soups and stews can also be enhanced with a few drops of well-aged balsamic vinegar. If you find a soup tasting a bit bland—whether it’s minestrone, tomato, or pumpkin—consider adding a dash of balsamic vinegar; you might be surprised at how it can revitalize the dish.

Pasta and risotto dishes, too, stand to benefit from a little balsamic vinegar. Try adding a few tablespoons to your next batch of spaghetti sauce to create a more complex flavor.

For those with a sweet tooth, you’ll be pleased to know that balsamic vinegar is not limited to savory foods. Reducing balsamic vinegar on the stove will diminish its acidity and transform it into a richly flavored, thick syrup. From there, drizzle the vinegar reduction on fresh fruit (strawberries are a favorite), roasted fruit (we have a mean Grilled Balsamic Peach recipe), or even atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Inspired? Yeah, we thought you might be. Head over to our online store to find a selection of specialty balsamic vinegars exclusive to Tavern on the Green Intl.. To learn more about ways to incorporate balsamic vinegar into your cooking, visit our website’s Recipes page.

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Tavern on the Green Supports Safe to Compete

Tavern on the Green Intl. specializes in gourmet sauces, marinades and oils, all of which this blog will address, and with detail. However, the heart of the company is found in the fact that we donate a portion of the profit from every item sold to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. One important program from the center that deserves attention is Safe to Compete.

Safe to Compete works hard to raise awareness of child sexual abuse in sports and to prevent it from happening in the first place. It provides a platform for discussing the issue and its possible solutions. Training resources are available to open people’s eyes to how children interact with their coaches, fellow players, and other people involved in their sports.

Children are most often abused by someone they know, such as coaches, family friends, babysitters, childcare providers and neighbors. Child molesters are often very unsuspected people from traditionally unsuspected places.

The recent Jerry Sandusky scandal made the general public more aware of what experts on child sexual abuse already knew: that child molesters tend to choose youth-serving organizations as places to find victims. In Sandusky’s case, it was the Penn State football program and his Second Mile program. Any place that gives adults relatively unfettered access to youth must be properly monitored and regulated to prevent incidences of child sexual abuse. The unquestioned authority of coaches and other authority figures, a physical culture, and common hesitancy to report abuse are all factors that need attention.

The Safe to Compete program works to educate parents, children, and those involved in youth sports to give childhood recreational activities a safe and healthy environment free from the poison that has affected so many innocent children in the past. Tavern on the Green International is a direct extension of that cause, raising money through the sale of delicious foods straight from the recipes of the original Tavern on the Green. Place an order to support this crucial cause today.

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A Quick Primer on Balsamic Vinegar

balsamic information

*Tavern on the Green Intl. is NOT affiliated with Tavern on the Green In Central Park in New York City

Balsamic vinegar is a very distinct product native to Italy.  Recent years have seen an explosion of the product’s popularity throughout the world.  In the United States, balsamic vinegar is very different from its Italian cousin, with some brands being an exception.  Balsamic vinegar, made in the traditional way, is often aged for more than twelve years. It consists of late harvest Trebbiano grapes, and is processed carefully using centuries old methods.

Today, the typical manufacturing process is done in one day.  The more modern methods do not use one hundred percent Trebbiano grapes. In some cases, manufacturers use a combination of wine vinegars, wine must and even apple cider vinegar, often without any balsamic vinegar at all.  Only occasionally will you find a balsamic vinegar on the ingredient list.  We invite you to read the labels of supermarket balsamic vinegars and then read ours.  We are certain that you will be amazed.

Traditional balsamic vinegar should have a deep, rich brown color, complex flavors and with more viscosity than typical vinegar.  The price of the highest quality balsamic vinegar can exceed $200 a bottle.

Tavern’s balsamic vinegars are made from aged balsamic vinegar and condiment, infused with natural ingredients. While they include no artificial sweeteners, the lower acidity makes for a sweeter taste. Additionally, the thicker style allows our balsamic vinegars to be used for glazes, salads, finishes and preparations that are endless in variety.  Because of the intense flavors, you will be able to use comparatively little to achieve the tastes that make our vinegars so special. In the end, a typical bottle from Tavern Direct will go much further than one off the supermarket shelf.

For more information on the products we sell, the causes they serve, and the Tavern on the Green tradition, stick to the Tavern Direct blog for much, much more.

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Gourmet Cooking with Purpose: Tavern Direct + NCMEC

By Kristen Hess, Artful Gourmet
March 20, 2011

I recently was fortunate enough to meet Lou Bivona, Managing Partner of Tavern Direct and Founding Member of National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/NY and sample some of his gourmet products to cook with. Tavern Direct has a fantastic line of flavorful, gourmet marinades, dipping and finishing sauces, 14-16 year barrel-aged balsamic vinegars infused with real fruit and herb oils all made with premium, all-natural ingredients bottled under the Tavern on the Green name. The best of all about this wonderful cooking line is that a portion of all their proceeds goes to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a charity committed to help millions of children through the sales of their products.

OilsMarinades

*Tavern on the Green Intl. is NOT affiliated with Tavern on the Green In Central Park in New York City

Their product lineup includes Oils, Herbs ‘n More featuring Garlic with Rosemary Oil, Chili Pepper with Garlic Oil and Pepper with Lemon Oil. Their Marinade, Dipping and Finishing Sauce line includes Central Park Signature, Wasabi Wonder, Smokin’ Chipolte and Asian Lemon. The Marinade trio features Chandelier Chardonnay and Fire Grilled Garlic, Old Vine Cabernet and Fire Grilled Garlic and Toscana Garlic Parmesan. The Balsamic Vinegar line is premium and gorgeously flavored with options such as Citrus on the Green (infused with Orange, tangerine and lime), Blackberry and Ginger, Autumn Fig with Vanilla, and Summer Strawberry. Last but not least, they have a robust 1870 Steak Sauce as well as a sesame Golden Ginger Teriyaki Sauce, perfect for marinating steak, chicken and fish for stir-fries and grilling.

Garlic & Rosemary Oil

With so many gorgeous sauces and marinades to choose from, I had a hard time choosing which one to cook with first. I chose the Garlic with Rosemary Oil in their Oil, Herbs n’ More collection to make a fantastic, delicious meal of Pan Seared Pork Chops, Roasted Zucchini with Garlic and Parmesan and Pecan Brown Basmati Rice with Garlic. With all the wonderful oils and vinegars and marinades in this line, I’ll be cooking up a storm and planning food and wine pairings and special recipes, and aim to share all my creations and cooking experiences with you throughout the year. Stay tuned for more!

For more great recipes and info about Tavern Direct, visit www.taverndirect.com. To make a donation to NCMEC , visit their secure website.

Garlic Rosemary Pan-Seared Pork Chops, Parmesan Zucchini + Pecan Brown Basmati RIce

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Garlic and Rosemary

Serves 4
Total Prep time: 30 mins
Total Cook time: 1 hr
Cooking skill: Intermediate

Ingredients

4 large boneless pork chops (about 1 ½ inches thick)
Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
4 Garlic cloves, sliced
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh or dried rosemary leaves

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and adjust the oven rack to middle position.

Marinade pork chops in the Garlic with Rosemary Oil in a plastic freezer bag or baking dish and place in the refrigerator for up 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Once chops are done marinating, cut 2 slits about 2 inches apart into each chop, using a sharp knife. Insert sliced garlic cloves into slits and sprinkle entire surface of each chop with 1 tsp of salt. Place them in a roasting pan or baking sheet and let stand room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Sprinkle chops with freshly ground pepper and rosemary and transfer baking sheet or roasting pan to oven. Cook until meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 120-125 degrees (approximately 30-45 mins).

Heat 1 tablespoon of the Garlic with Rosemary oil in a 12 inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until smoking. Place 2 chops in skillet and sear until well browned and crusty, 1 ½-3 minutes, lifting once halfway to redistribute the fat underneath each chop. (reduce heat if browned bits in pan bottom start to burn). Using tongs, turn chops and cook until well browned on second side, another 2-3 minutes. Transfer chops to a plate and repeat with remaining 2 chops, adding extra tablespoon oil if pan is dry.

Reduce heat to medium. Use tongs to stand 2 pork chops on their sides. Holding chops together with tongs, return to skillet and sear sides of chops until browned and meat thermometer in center of chops registers 140-145 degrees, about 1 ½ minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 chops. Let chops rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes until ready to serve. Sprinkle with some extra Rosemary if desired to garnish.

Pair the Pan-seared chops with Roasted Zucchini with Garlic & Parmesan and Pecan Brown Basmati Rice (recipes follow) and a light, crisp Chardonnay to top off the meal. Delicious!

Roasted Zucchini with Garlic and Parmesan

Serves 4
Total Prep time: 15 mins
Total Cook time: 30-45 mins
Cooking skill: Easy

Ingredients

4 medium zucchini
Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh or dried rosemary leaves

Preparation

Wash zucchini and cut in half length wise, chopping off ends, and cut in half again. Arrange zucchini in a glass baking pan and drizzle the Garlic with Rosemary oil over the zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and top the zucchini with the shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh or dried rosemary. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 mins until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Pecan Brown Basmati Rice with Garlic

Serves 4
Total Prep time: 15 mins
Total Cook time: 1 hour
Cooking skill: Easy

Ingredients

1 cup long-grain brown rice
1-2 tablespoons Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
¼ cup green onion, sliced thin (for garnish, optional)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare brown rice in medium saucepan, following package instructions.

About 15 minutes before the rice is done, heat 1-2 tbsp of Garlic with Rosemary oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and begins to yellow, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and pecans; sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the garlic is tender and pecans are browned slightly, about 5 minutes.

Remove rice from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Spoon brown rice into a bowl; spoon the onions, garlic and pecans on top and toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with some chopped green onion if desired.

About the Author

Kristen Hess, Artful Gourmet

Kristen Hess is an amateur chef, freelance food writer, food stylist/photographer. You can view more of her food writing, photography and recipes at her food blog Artful Gourmet.

**This was not a paid endorsement for Tavern Direct, NCMEC or Tavern on the Green.

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Giveaway! The Tavern Direct Super Insiders are HERE!

ATTN: This post and giveaway has moved to the newly improved http://www.taverndirectblog.com! Please head HERE to enter!

*Tavern on the Green Intl. is NOT affiliated with Tavern on the Green In Central Park in New York City

There’s been quite a lot going on at TavernDirect.com lately, and to kick everything off, we’ve decided to host our own giveaway encouraging all our fans to get involved! Those of you new to the Tavern on The Green label, welcome, we’re confident you’ll be surprised to learn all of the amazing and versatile uses for our Gourmet line of Dips, Marinades, and Sauces. Chef Lou, owner and resident gourmet foodie, is always in the kitchen whipping up something delectable with the Tavern on The Green Intl. products; and now you can too!

In addition to our comprehensive recipe database, found on the main site, the Tavern Direct Blog will be offering monthly recipe profiles and pairing suggestions. Kicking off, alongside the re-released new Tavern Direct Blog is the brand new Super Insiders Group of 7 talented bloggers. Every month they’ll be whipping up dishes with our featured product and sharing innovative suggestions for time saving and gourmet meals! Every time you see Tavern Direct in the news, a tweet, a blog, or online be sure to head back here to the blog and let us know- then enter our monthly giveaway, and get a head up on all the current contests.

Fans of our Gourmet Marinades and Sauces love us for their unparalleled flavor and quality CookingForBachelorsTV‘s Jyl Ferris proclaims is the only ‘pre-made, bottled line’ she’s ever endorsed! We know our products are amazing, but did you know a portion of the proceeds from every purchase go to support the efforts of the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children? Every time our customers indulge in our 1870 Steak Sauce,  Summer Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar, or other gourmet products they’re helping to reunite lost or abducted children with their families! Be sure to connect with our blog today, and on Facebook to stay up to date with all the current efforts and events.

This month’s Tavern Direct Blog giveaway will give followers the chance to win 1 of 5 bottles of our Toscana Garlic Parmesan Marinade. Make sure to check in daily for new entry possibilities, and links to our Super Insiders posts, as they go live. Facebook fans will have the first heads up on bonus entry possibilities- so be sure to connect today!

*Tavern on the Green Intl. is NOT affiliated with Tavern on the Green In Central Park in New York City

5 Tavern Direct Blog followers will win a bottle of our March featured Toscana Garlic Parmesan  Marinade!

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment sharing your favorite Tavern Direct product, or the one you’d like to try most. Be sure to leave a method of contact to notify you if you are a winner!

Extra Entries:

*Connect with Tavern Direct on Facebook (say Hi if you’d like)+1
*Follow Tavern Direct on Twitter +1
*Make a Tavern Direct purchase +8
*Visit our Tavern Direct Recipes and tell us one you’d most like to try +1
*Subscribe to the Tavern Direct blog via email +2
*Tweet this giveaway with the button below (+1 daily)
*Share this post on Facebook +1

NEW ENTRIES 3/18:
*Watch Chef Lou’s CookingForBachelorsTV Spot and tell us which recipe you’d like to try +1
*Visit Super Insider Confession’s Of An Overworked Mom’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

NEW ENTRIES 3/19:
*Visit Super Insider Momma Told Me’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

NEW ENTRIES 3/20:
*Visit Super Insider My Life With Rats and More’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

NEW ENTRIES 3/21:
*Read and comment on this week’s Gourmet Cooking With Purpose post +2
*Visit Super Insider Turning The Clock Back’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

NEW ENTRIES 3/22:
*Visit Super Insider Deb’s Here’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

NEW ENTRIES 3/23:
*Visit Super Insider Mama Buzz’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1 (Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)


Giveaway begins March 18, 2011 at 12:01 AM EST and ends 12:59 PM EST on March 31, 2011. Winners will be notified via email, and posted here. Entries valid within the US. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn. Prize will be transferred via Tavern Direct.

Posted in Uncategorized | 195 Comments