on sundae

vanilla ice cream with balsamic syrupThe old aphorism “opposites attract” probably best describes this pairing. The slightly acidic tang from the balsamic syrup with the softly sweet vanilla is a winning combination. Elegantly simple. Vanilla pairs perfectly with so many things that we made the ice cream our vehicle for taste testing several different flavoured balsamic vinegars. Fig, black cherry, chocolate, pear…just a few of the versatile vinegars from the Unrefined Olive, and all delicious. David Lebovitz’s recipe for vanilla ice cream has been my go-to. I was so excited to get a double batch done while family was visiting (so that we could have our balsamic tasting experience!) that the second batch might not have been completely frozen…I tried to pass it off as soft serve.

(With two locations in Ottawa, the Unrefined Olive is a pretty great spot to spur some creativity in the kitchen, or just to find something a little different. It’s a tasting bar, so you can try little tastes of everything from blood orange olive oil to pomegranate balsamic before making up your mind. They’re not sponsoring this post or anything, I just thought I’d let fellow Ottawans know about the spot in case they didn’t!)

Happily, it’s simple to make balsamic syrup (flavoured however you like) with (inexpensive) regular balsamic vinegar. Worthwhile for when you want a little more depth from that balsamic flavour or to elevate your dishes with a bit of somethin somethin. It can be sweetened with honey, brown sugar, agave…I used maple syrup. Happy sundae!

Maple balsamic syrup (makes about ½ cup)
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup balsamic vinegar

Combine the two ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower heat to simmer until the mixture is reduced and has thickened (about 8-10 minutes). Drizzle over ice cream, or anything/everything.

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