It was summer, it was hot, it was the time of short sleeves and tanned skin, the taste of salt was not far from my memories, when I tasted a fabulous vinegar in a restaurant in Colle Val d’Elsa. It was aromatic, with an intense fragrance and an intriguing aftertaste. I spent the evening trying to learn all the ingredients written on the back label by heart: red wine vinegar, mint, anise… red wine vinegar, mint, anise… red wine vinegar, mint, aniseed… It was still summer, but I knew that this would be one of my Christmas gifts.
If you are included among those friends who usually receive ‘edible’ Christmas presents from me, please do not go further to read on, you would not spoil the surprise! But if, like me, you’re already looking for quick and gourmet ideas to make unique every single parcel packed with love and creativity, this is a recipe for you!
The first step was to get a red wine vinegar worthy of the name, something natural and genuine. A friend with a small vineyard and some true and homemade red wine vinegar, that’s the solution! So thank you Angelo for this spontaneous gift, as promised you will receive a tiny gourmet bottle of star anise and mint flavoured vinegar in exchange of three bottles filled with simple vinegar! I think that one of us has definitely had the best in the exchange!
The mint, well this was easy, I have my little bush growing at the roots of the olive tree in the garden, my perennial basis. I decide to replaced anise with star anise though, so beautiful to see and the same for aroma and flavor.
- red wine vinegar, 5 lt
- mint, a sprig
- star anise, a dozen of seeds
Wash the mint and path it dry with a cloth. Pour the vinegar into a bottle, add mint and star anise. Close the bottle with a cork and shake the contents. Let the ingredients in infusion for at least three weeks, shaking the bottle every two or three days. After this time of infusion, sifts the vinegar through a colander and fill small bottles with the help of a funnel. You’ll have small gifts for everyone.
Tasting test. The red wine vinegar – especially if good and home-made – is deeply intense. Right after the vinegar comes the fresh burst of ice mint, followed closely by the persistent and sweet aroma of star anise.
My favorite combination. Obviously with a green salad with a radicchio, to be seasoned with vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel. Served with a main course of white fish or cream cheese, it becomes a full, light and unforgettable meal.
Gift idea. You can pack a small bottle of flavored vinegar with extra virgin olive oil DOP from your area and fleur de sel. You can match it with a wooden bowl, wooden salad servers and an olive cutting board. You will get a refined yet simple and surely appreciate parcel!