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Ice Cream and Vinegar
blaisepascal
My mom watches Alton Brown, and while she doesn't always like his recipes, she respects his knowledge and is willing to give things a try. One of those things recently was balsamic vinegar on ice cream. Tonight at dinner, sheherazahde and I tried it on a store-brand premium vanilla (I gave a taste to skitten as well).

Out of the three of us, I was the only one who liked it. It was an interesting combination of flavors which I think worked well. I put much more vinegar on the ice cream than Zahde, but she didn't find it improved by sampling a section of her bowl richer in vinegar.

Supposedly, Alton mentioned that while we don't tend to think of sweet and sour as flavors that work together, the Chinese have long had "sweet and sour sauce", which shows they can. I think he's missing a much closer example: Lemonade is almost pure sweet and sour, as are sweetarts. Along the lemonade vain, there is the medieval middle-eastern drink sekanjabin, which is essentially a syrup made with sugar, vinegar, and mint, served with ice water. Sekanjabin has the sweet/tart taste of lemonade, but without tasting lemony. Instead, it tastes of mint and of the origin of the vinegar (imagine that). So I don't think sweet/sour are bad in combination.

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Using a high-end balsamic vinegar makes all the difference. Most of what is for sale in grocery stores is mass-produced and not at all what I would enjoy on ice cream.
I have a 12-oz. bottle of relatively good stuff that I paid $45 for, and it's great on strawberries and on ice cream. One day, I will own a bottle of the really good stuff, as soon as I have $150 to spend on vinegar.

Ditto it gets sweeter as it gets older.

Cooking by Hand has a great description of the use and making of balsamic

The same is true for soy sauce. We left a small decanter of soy sauce in CO storage for two+ years, with plastic wrap over the mouth to keep it safe.

OH MY GODS!!! I was pouring it over every rice dish we had. Never had soy sauce that good.

My agreement on the other three comments.

My wife and I DETEST balsamic vinegar - it reminds us of eating a pine tree.

But then a few weeks ago, we hit a local street fair, and there was a booth selling balsamic vinegar. This stuff was amazing. They sell several infused with raspberries and black currants and such, specifically for pouring over dishes like ice creams.

A good balsamic vinegar will sweeten as it ages.

I have also found is that it really depends on the particular vinegar. Of the 3 balsamics I happen to have, one works gorgeously, and two are "eh".

It is important to not overdo the vinegar. It's not hot fudge, the key is to drizzle, not pour.

Lately, though, I've been finding most lemonades way too sweet and not sour enough.

I've always had a bit of a taste for vinegar. I have, at times, been known to take it straight-up. I've often suspected that's unusual.

As for lemonade, I prefer it heavy on the lemon, nonexistent on the sugar.

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