Balsamic vinegar as a treasured gift? Absolutely. Chef Sal Campagna, who is of Italian descent turned me on to an unforgettable anecdote. His parents were born in Sicily. And for their seventy-fifth wedding anniversary, Sal turned to Italian balsamic vinegar. It's true. A bottle from Modena (priced at $120 for 8 ounces) was part of the anniversary dinner package. At his restaurant, the former Salvatore's in the San Francisco Bay Area, which specialized in Continental cuisine, he provided an extravagant celebration dinner. For dessert, the creative chef drizzled the rich vinegar over French vanilla ice cream for forty people.
What's more, when he told me this story, I agreed to give the Italian treat a try. After my dinner at Salvatore's (salad with red wine vinegar and olive oil, French bread dipped in EVOO, grilled salmon with onion and garlic, and steamed veggies), I indulged in the balsamic vinegar decadent delight. And to my surprise, while it wasn't chocolate the Italian dessert was magnifico!
One more thing. To this day, I will treat myself to a scoop of gourmet French vanilla ice cream and team it with the balsamic vinegar gift that gets better with age--like charming homes, companion animals, men, and yes, women.