Kitchn Love Letters

I Put This Sweet Vinegar on Everything (Including Ice Cream!)

published Dec 8, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

It’s a shame we’re not supposed to give ourselves nicknames, because *if* we were, I would dub myself The Condiment Queen. Honestly, a solid 75% of my cabinet space is dedicated to specialty oils, crunchy sprinkle-ons (hello, TJ’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning), and more types of vinegar than most folks even knew existed. But for the last month, I’ve been ignoring almost all of it — in favor of one little jar. It’s sweet white vinegar, and I’m in love.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

This sweet white vinegar is Italian-made by Carandini, and is truly unlike any vin I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot). It’s ultra thick and syrupy, and so sweet that I’ve been drizzling it over vanilla ice cream. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, what is sweet white vinegar?

Buy: Carandini Bianca Sweet White Vinegar, $10.99 for 250ml on Amazon

What is sweet white vinegar?

According to the team at Carandini — and a helpful staff translator — sweet white vinegar is made from the same ingredients used to make balsamic of Modena: concentrated grape must and wine vinegar. Grape must is cooked-down grapes, a process that concentrates the flavors. It’s a key ingredient in any balsamic vinegar, but unlike that bottle of balsamic kicking around in your pantry, this stuff is filtered — giving an elegant, clear color. 

Another difference between the typical balsamic and sweet white vinegar is that SWV (okay, I’ll work on the acronym) is less acidic. The difference — 5% total acidity versus 6% — might not seem like a lot, but I can definitely taste it. The sweet white vinegar is much fruitier; it even has some floral and perfumey notes. 

Although you may have seen similar bottles labeled “white balsamic,” Carandini prefers the term “sweet white vinegar” because its product is so distinctive. This stuff is top-notch, with a much more intense flavor from estate-grown grapes.

What can you do with it?

There are about a zillion uses for sweet white vinegar. As I mentioned above, it’s a great ice cream topper; I like to add a sprinkle of pumpkin granola as well, for texture and a salty-sweet contrast. I also reach for this bottle anytime I want to “finish” a grain bowl or cup of soup — it adds the perfect swirl of sweetness. 

My favorite way to use sweet white vinegar is in a salad dressing. I always add a sweetener to my vinaigrettes to balance the harsh flavor of traditional vinegar. However, as long as I have a bottle of this on hand, I can skip the maple syrup or honey; it’s sweet and sharp.

Carandini suggests using their sweet white vinegar as a marinade for meat and fish, which I haven’t tried yet. Another ingenious use they shared in our chat? Cocktails. And on that note, I’ve got a dirty martini calling my name!

Have you tried sweet white vinegar? What’s your favorite way to use it? Discuss in the comments below!