Vinegars Provide A Respite From Sweetness

We love dessert.

That said, we're also sensitive to those who do not. For them, certain times of the year (Valentine's, Halloween) can be a game of sugar-charged dodgeball.

Rather than have such friends duck at the sight of sweets, you can offer them a vinegar that tempers sugar in a tangy, refreshing way.

Honey Wine Vinegar: Less syrupy than balsamic, this Slide Ridge ($22 for 8.5 ounces; click here to buy) gentle vinegar is made from raw honey gathered in Utah's Rocky Mountains.

Verjus: Keep your eyes peeled for the latest in Mikuni's Noble line. Made from raw grapes, this sweet-sour concoction ($28 for 750 ml; click here to buy) adds audacious layers of flavor to sauces and salads.

Banana Vinegar: Ever since we discovered his xoconostle strips, we knew that Rancho Gordo's Steve Sando was anything but a one-trick pony. His latest move, banana vinegar ($16 for 12 ounces; click here to buy) from Mexico, is made from fermented overripe bananas and features an appealing flavor that commingles the fruit's sweetness with a delicate funk.