Liquid Gold by Travis Earsman

My love for what I call liquid gold began many years ago when my beard was yet to sprout silver threads, I had more of a spring in my step and my son was still in nappies, his mother (a culinary wizardess) was cooking dinner one night. A dinner which included salad. When I tasted her creation, I nearly fell off my chair. “What is it with this salad!?” I asked across the table, dumbfounded. With the dismissive air that could only come from one who was enjoying exposing another to the joys of the palate, she responded simply, “Balsamic, dear.” I was hooked.

But it turned out she wasn’t just using it in salads, oh no. She was using it to marinade meats, to spice up pasta sauce, to caramelise vegetables and even as a dip when we had guests over. Suddenly I had an insight into the hidden world of ‘advanced’ cookery. That something so simple could do so much to transform a dish amazed me. Since then I have always had a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar on the shelf.

It’s not just the palate-cleansing effect and the beguiling taste that makes Balsamic such a must-have for every discerning pantry; did you know that Balsamic Vinegar is also really good for you? Well, I didn’t. And when it started to dawn on me just how good for you it really is, I started trying to think of as many recipes as possible to add it to.

So why is it so good for you?

Anti-Oxidants  – Balsamic Vinegar is rich in anti-oxidants, which means it will reduce the number of free-radicals within the body, thereby reducing the damage caused by oxidation. This in turn is linked to an increase in cardio-vascular health, and is shown to boost the immunise system and even slow the hands of time – thus warding off the effects of ageing.

Healthy For Your Blood – Balsamic Vinegar has been shown to reduce the hardening of arteries, and as such it can assist in normalising blood pressure levels. Furthermore, it is also beneficial in stabilising the level of cholesterol in the blood, which can only be a good thing.

Assisting With Weight-Loss – Balsamic Vinegar contains a compound called acetic acid, which improves the body’s ability to break down fat, which of course yields more energy. It also works to slow the absorption of carbohydrates, helping to balance your blood sugar level, which when combined with the product’s low GI acts to reduce hunger and support a more modest dietary intake.

Improved Digestion – Balsamic Vinegar stimulates the body to produce a particular digestive enzyme called peptin, which helps to break proteins into amino acids. It also supports your body in the absorption of these amino acids, thereby making it easier for your body to repair and build cells.

Pomodoras Balsamic Dressing Range

This is why, when offered the opportunity to experience Chef Chris Bond’s Famous Balsamic Dressing range, I jumped as the chance. Living in the same small town (Maleny, on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland) I know Chris personally, both as a devoted family man and as the driving culinary force behind one of the most successful restaurants in town: Pomodoras on obi. 

I knew instinctively that his Balsamic Dressings were going to be something special, and boy was I right. I sat down at a table with Chris and his wife Jodi (co-owner and manager of Pomodoras) and they set the entire range out on the table before me. The first thing I noticed was that the colour-coded bottles seemed to cover a lot of appetising territory; ranging from the basic Balsamic Dressing, though an Orange Vincotto and a Ginger and Lime Dressing, a Hum Honey Rosemary and Apple variation right the way through to a Sweet Chilli Balsamic Dressing.

Set before the bottles Jodi laid out small white dishes, each with a teaspoon resting in a modest pool of the corresponding aqueous delight. I started with the flagship dressing: Chris’ Famous Balsamic Dressing, balancing a tiny amount of the thick, dark liquid on the tip of the teaspoon. All politeness and decorum went out the window however, as soon as I tasted it.  “Oh my god…” I uttered before the teaspoon had so much as exited my mouth, “That is LOVELY!”

I went on to sample each of them in turn, whilst listening to Chris avidly explaining what each particular dressing was best suited for, and how he came to create them. Every dressing very much has it’s own unique taste and application, whilst all of them maintaining the same consistency of colour, quality and viscosity that has become Chris’ trademark and which has bolstered the Balsamic Dressing’s success.

Chris came up with this delicious innovation way back in the year 2001, which was long before I even knew that Balsamic vinegar existed! Working as a Chef in the UK, Chris recognised the demand for an affordable aged Balsamic; one that provides a similar effect to the higher-end products without being outrageously expensive.

Chris built his Balsamic Dressing from an authentic aged Balsamic Vinegar imported from Modena, and after many years of producing it he has it down to a fine, syrupy art. It has the wonderful effect of cutting the longer savoury notes of a dish, providing contrast and keeping the palate fresh in order to maximise the enjoyment of the meal.

Have you tried it yet? I think you will agree that he has achieved his goal of creating a versatile dressing that works with a multitude of dishes – just not salads.

Caramelised Vegetables: Adding Chris’ Famous Balsamic Dressing to a hot pan with your vegetables creates a pleasing and delicious caramelised effect.

Bolognese: When added to tomato-based sauces such as Bolognese, it adds an edge and a complexity that will have your dinner guests asking for your secret!

Marinade: Chris’ Famous Balsamic Dressing is an excellent marinade for meats, both red and white.

Dip: Chris’ Famous Balsamic Dressing is excellent as a dip, bring it out when entertaining to offer your guests a satisfying entrée, especially when eaten with toasted bread and olive oil.

Mushroom Risotto: Chris’ Famous Balsamic Dressing provides an interesting, contrasting flair when added to mushroom risotto, which is one of Chris’ favourite applications for it.

If you haven’t tried it yet, or have a bottle on your shelf and are looking for something different to try it with, click here to view one of Chris’ own recipes designed specifically for use with his Balsamic Dressing. Let us know what you think!

Genius writer