Wednesday, July 14, 2004

We Tried It

For the last year or so, Minus 8 Vinegar has been one of the most sought-after gourmet ingredients, praised as being more complex in flavor than balsamic vinegar. While the flavor is unusual - sweet, but not cloying, with a hint of acid - we thought the texture was disappointingly thin, especially compared with even average balsamics.

The production of Minus 8 is limited and mysterious (a marketing ploy, perhaps?), but we do know the vinegar is made from red and white grapes harvested in Ontario, Canada. And like the German dessert wine eiswein, the grapes are gathered only when the temperature is below minus 8 degrees Centigrade. The frozen grapes give up a concentrated juice that produces the uniquely flavored vinegar.

Connoisseurs may appreciate Minus 8 for its novelty, but at $29 per 100 ml (about 3.4 ounces), even they will use it sparingly - as a seasoning for fresh fruit, foie gras and other dishes. Available from Earthy Delights: Web site or (800) 367-4709.

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