I originally started this blog as a place to store tried and true recipes for my family. It didn't take long to discover how supportive and fun the blog community was and I became hooked! I rarely create my own recipes, but I still hope you'll enjoy the recipes that I find and tweak a bit.
About a month ago I took a trip to Peddler's Village PA. My sister and I had so much fun shopping their cute boutiques, enjoying the beautifully manicured grounds, and eating at their great local pub. I especially loved the several book stores and specialty food and cooking shops that they had there. I spent hours wondering, looking like a glazed over kid in a candy shop. One of the last shops I went to was a fantastic Italian shop called the Casa Casale, with an enthusiastic owner who quickly became my best friend. She let me sample all sorts of stuff, every one as delicious as the last. But then she let me sample this, and I was hooked. There is a very long and interesting process in making the Balsamic Di Modena, which is a lovely balsamic vinegar. Long story short, it takes at least five years to age, switching from barrel to barrel all made of different woods. It's also incorporated with grapes, figs, juniper berries, cherries, mulberries and a bunch of other good stuff. The finished product is thick like a syrup, and delightfully sweet, along with the rich tanginess of vinegar. I sampled it, giggled like a little girl and immediately bought it. This is one of those products that does not need much at all to compliment it. In fact, you are practically looking for any vehicle you find to prevent yourself from simply drinking it straight from the bottle. It's so delicious on strawberries and melon, it does something completely different to the fruit. If using it on salads, it's recommended to not even mix in oil, or any other ingredient for that matter.
A beautiful product like this calls for beautiful fresh ingredients. I thought panzanella would be perfect, and another first for me. Panzanella is a really simple salad that is usually made of stale bread and tomatoes. I also added chopped red onions, cucumbers, fresh basil and halved bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls). Tossed it with a small amount of the vinegar and kosher salt, and you have sheer loveliness on a plate. I love the sweetness of the Balsamic Di Modena, but it would also be very delicious with any viniagrette. It's a light and healthy salad with a ton of flavor.