This Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Bar & Wine Sampling is a unique and fun way to add stylish entertaining at home, or to a special event.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Italian Trade Commission. All opinions are 100% mine.
Gather some friends and get ready to host a creative and interactive tasting bar at your next party or event.
I’m just going to admit right now that so much of my inspiration for entertaining this year is coming from our trip to Italy. This balsamic vinegar tasting bar is no exception and I think you’re going to love it!
Italy is known for many premium culinary delights: wine, olive oil, pasta, balsamic vinegar, cured meats, and cheeses just to name a few. I wanted to celebrate that by setting up a flavored balsamic bar paired with some high quality wines of Italy. This is a great opportunity to introduce your guests to the many flavors of balsamic vinegar as well as some Italian wine varieties they may not be familiar with.
To prepare for the tasting bar I stocked up on five different flavors of balsamic vinegar, some good Italian olive oil, and a few bottles of high quality Italian wine. Expect to pay $15 or more per bottle as there are a lot of wines produced by artisans on small farms and vineyards. There’s so much tradition that goes into the making of Italian wine. I loved learning about it on our day wine tasting tour in Tuscany.
Stock up on high quality Italian wine to complement the balsamic tasting bar.
How to set up a Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Bar:
The idea here is to let guests taste the subtle differences in a variety of flavored vinegars. I chose:
Provide one good quality Italian olive oil and some Italian bread cut into small cubes.
Use small shallow ramekins or plates and fill one side with the olive oil and the other side with balsamic vinegar. Dip the bread cube so you get a little bit of each on it to taste.
Add a decorative touch that’s also edible by placing fruit that represents each vinegar flavor, on a platter. Serve some olives in a small bowl to echo the olive oil.
Provide a sampling of crostini that guests can drizzle with the balsamic vinegar of their choice. Make sure to have a balance of savory and sweet toppings like:
- goat cheese
- ricotta cheese
- Parmigiano cheese
- small heirloom tomatoes + fresh basil
- fresh figs
- fresh peaches, sliced & lightly grilled
- fresh strawberries, sliced
- chopped pistachios
Extra arugula and Parmigiano can be served as a salad and dressed with olive oil and flavored balsamic vinegar of choice. That’s how the Italians do!
For the big finish serve scoops of gelato with fresh berries and let guests top it with a flavored balsamic vinegar. The combination of tangy and sweet goes so well together.
Let’s talk about adding wine to your balsamic vinegar tasting bar.
There’s so much to take away from the Italian way of life. Enjoying really good wine with delicious crostini is one of them! Look at this as an opportunity to taste a few new varieties that pair well with these small bites you’ve prepared.
- For a true taste of Italy try a bottle of Chianti Classico DOCG. The DOCG label means that the wine follows strict guidelines for production, and is the highest designation of quality among Italian wines. You can notice it at a glance by the little rooster symbol on the label. Chianti is made from at least 80% Sangiovese grapes. It’s dry, ranges from medium to full bodied, and tastes great with food.
- For something white try a Verdicchio, from either the Matelica or Castelli di Jesi DOC. The Verdicchio grapes have been growing in central Italy since the 14th century. It has high acidity with citrus and almond notes, and pairs with a wide variety of foods.
- Introduce another popular red like Barolo DOCG from the Piedmont region of Italy, which borders France. Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grape, and the Piedmont region is known for producing the most DOC/DOCG zones and the largest percentage of officially classified wines of any region in Italy. Barolo has floral and fruity notes, and is well suited to aging. A great choice for those who have a wine cellar and love to collect!
- If you are on a budget, you could find great satisfaction with a Langhe Nebbiolo or a Nebbiolo d’Alba from the same region. It will be a younger, more straightforward wine most likely, but delicious nonetheless.
This balsamic vinegar tasting bar and wine sampling party is a great way to entertain in style. You don’t have to do a lot of party preparation; just gather your food, wine, and get ready for a sophisticated evening of tastings. Click here to learn more about Italian wines to feature at your next gathering.