Balsamic Tastings Are Giada De Laurentiis' Go-To Spin On Party Boards

Move over, charcuterie boards, there's a new kind of food board in town, and it comes highly recommended by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis. De Laurentiis insists cured meats, dried fruits, and nuts aren't the only food items that can appeal to a crowd. Instead, she surprises guests by including balsamic dressings on her cheese boards, adding a tangy vinegar flavor to the pieces of bread and chunks of cheese.

To treat your guests to a pre-dinner presentation that might have De Laurentiis nodding with approval, aim to provide at least three varieties of balsamic vinegar for sampling. De Laurentiis recommends offering young vinegar, an aged balsamic, and an artisanal balsamic that can offer an eclectic range of texture, acidity, and sweetness for guests to compare. Not only will your unique display provide a convenient talking point for those in attendance, but the pairing of balsamic with appetizers and hors d'oeuvres is also a guaranteed means to get the evening started on a delicious note.

Choosing which vinegars to serve

As you shop for balsamic-tasting party supplies in markets and in specialty stores, be prepared to browse through different categories of balsamic vinegar varieties, including artisan, condimenti, industriale, and imitation. Traditional artisan balsamic vinegar is aged and thick, whereas condimenti vinegars are bottled earlier by producers and sold at a cheaper price point in shops throughout Italy. Industriale balsamic vinegars are made in bulk and typically have other ingredients like sugar, herbs, and vanilla added for cooks to use at home.

While younger balsamic vinegar is easy to find in grocery markets, you may need to plan in advance to procure more aged bottles. When you do, however, you'll be met with luxurious, rich varieties that can coat dipped pieces of parmesan or be drizzled on top of snacks, bread, and desserts like ice cream and gelato. Slices of focaccia bread and round balls of mozzarella can sop up younger balsamic and fruit-forward or artisanal balsamic of your choice. Regardless of the types of balsamic vinegar you purchase, any excess certainly won't go to waste in your kitchen. You can use leftover vinegar from your party to make a balsamic glaze or serve roasted balsamic bruschetta for lunch later in the week.