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250 South Northwest Hwy, Suite 320
Park Ridge, IL 60068
USA

(847) 232-2828

Inspired by the History, Style & Romance of Italy.
Creating certified organic wine, balsamic vinegar & olive oil.

Newsletter - January 2016

Braised Balsamic Vinegar Chicken

Amy Wright

Wondering what to cook for dinner on a hectic weeknight? How about balsamic vinegar braised chicken breasts? Easy to prepare, we made our version using Villa Gabriella Organic 8 year aged balsamic vinegar di Modena.  We tweaked a recipe from allrecipes.com adding fresh mushrooms & cherry tomatoes for a healthy & delicious dish that can be served with pasta, orzo or rice.

Serves 2 to 4

Easy Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup Villa Gabriella Organic 8 Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar di Modena
  • 1 pound of fresh skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons of Villa Gabriella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 15 ounces of fresh diced tomatoes (canned diced tomatoes work too)
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to season

Simple Directions:

  1. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt & pepper
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat
  3. Cook seasoned chicken breasts until browned, approx. 3 to 4 minutes per side
  4. Add mushroom & onion slices
  5. Cook & stir until browned approx. 8-10 minutes
  6. Pour diced tomatoes & balsamic vinegar over the mixture
  7. Season with basil, oregano, rosemary & thyme
  8. Simmer chicken over a medium heat careful the meat does not dry. Until it is no longer pink & the juices run clear, approx.  15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should indicate at least 165◦F (74◦C).
  9. Remove from heat & allow to “rest” for 2-3 minutes
  10. Serve with pasta, orzo or rice & enjoy!

 

THE HEART & HANDS OF AN ARTISAN

Amy Wright

We recently had the privilege of meeting the lovely & talented Signora Sabrina at her family’s organic farm in the outskirts of Modena. As a 4th generation artisan, Sabrina continues the family tradition with passion, patience & pride to craft wonderfully delicious, certified organic, IGP quality, aged balsamic vinegar. Their vinegar starts with hand harvested organic Lambrusco & Trebbiano grapes, native to the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. To qualify as certified organic, the family hand tends their single estate, sustainable vineyard without the use of any synthetic herbicides or chemical pesticides.

During our visit we learned that authentic balsamic vinegar di Modena is made from pressed grape juice. The fresh juice is slowly simmered to avoid caramelization or burning of the juice’s natural sugars. The result is a dense syrup like reduction or “mosto cotto” which then slowly ages or “rests” in a series of wooden casks of progressively smaller sizes over several years. From the must the aged vinegar is then blended & produced.

20-60 liter casks some as old as 100 years are used, each is hand made from the local trees of the surrounding hills; acacia, cherry, chestnut, juniper & oak.  Each container “seasons” the vinegar with its’ own unique characteristics & flavors. Sabrina explained a quality Balsamico should reflect the right balance between the wood aging & the blending of the mosto cotto. Indeed small batches take longer, but ensure more evaporation & closer contact with the individual cask’s distinctive aromas & fragrant essences. The result; an exceptional balsamic vinegar, a deep rich chocolate color, natural sweet & sour notes, balanced with the subtle hints of wood. We look forward to offering you Signora Sabrina’s 15 year aged balsamic vinegar di Modena soon. Stay tuned!

Balsamic Vinegar - Did You Know!?!

Amy Wright

The Roman soldiers carried cooked, concentrated grape must in small leather bags as part of their provisions on military campaigns. The troops would dilute the must with the water they had to drink & when possible added a few mint leaves taken from a nearby bush for a refreshing drink.

Balsamic vinegar was once considered a medical remedy.  In the middle ages, wealthy Italians relied on the luscious liquid to treat every day ailments such as headaches & indigestion. Because of its prized therapeutic properties only merchants, landed gentry & the nobility could afford it. Balsamic vinegar wasn’t considered a food product until hundreds of years later when it became a culinary delicacy.  Eventually the kitchen staple made its way to the general population including North America were it became popular in the early 1980’s

 

Sources:
http://www.acetum.it/
http://www.cooksinfo.com/vinegar
www.enzyme-facts.com/vinegar-history.html
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/
Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology
The Little Book of Vinegars

The Benefits of Balsamic

Amy Wright

NUTRITION
Vinegars in general are rich in vitamins & minerals, organic vinegars in particular are less filtered & unprocessed. Rich in vitamins A, B-Complex, C & E along with nutrient rich minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium & sodium. 

LOW CALORIES
The versatile vinegar adds flavor to most dishes from white & dark meats to fish, vegetables & even ice cream! According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, authentic balsamic vinegar has as few as 5 calories per teaspoon. Changing a cream based or store bought dressing for balsamic vinegar combined with extra virgin olive oil can reduce unnecessary calories for a healthy & delicious alternative.

CHOLESTEROL STABILIZER
According to researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Environmental Science for Human Life, polyphenol rich anti-oxidants from balsamic vinegar inhibit oxidation of Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol (damaging cholesterol that blocks arteries). Hence minimizing the risk of damage to cells from harmful cholesterol.   Drizzling balsamic vinegar on chicken, fish or meat can be helpful in keeping cholesterol within a healthy range.

 

Sources:
http://www.acetum.it/
http://www.cooksinfo.com/vinegar
www.enzyme-facts.com/vinegar-history.html
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/
Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology
The Little Book of Vinegars