By Cynthia Schuster-Eakin, with additions by Shara Bohach
Cleveland Dames discovered “The Wonderful World of Balsamics” at their March membership meeting, hosted by Dame Candice Berthold, owner of The Olive and The Grape.
Berthold led Northeast Ohio chapter members on a tour of the flavored balsamics she sells at her shops in Mentor, Kamm’s Corner and in the West Side Market. The hour-long tasting and class at the Mentor location began with an appetizer of assorted olives and peppers marinated in The Olive and The Grape’s Liquid Gold aged balsamic vinegar.
Dame Jean Mackenzie of Mackenzie’s Creamery provided a three-week-old boucheron of goat cheese, which was drizzled with fig balsamic. A mini caprese salad of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese was seasoned with lemongrass basil oil and sun-dried tomato balsamic. Sautéed vegetables were marinated in carrot ginger balsamic vinegar. A dessert of decadent brownies laced with red raspberry chocolate balsamic vinegar was a unique and delicious finale. After the dinner, chapter members sampled four additional balsamics.
Recently accredited as a Certified Health Coach, Candice Berthold, CHC, AADP, engaged members in a discussion about the health benefits of balsamics and olive oils, and cautioned members about inferior products found at the grocery store. This transpired into a lively discussion about the worst toxic GMO foods we consume, and what we should all try to avoid.
Guest Ilona Simon, owner of Budapest Blonde Cocktail Mixes, concocted a “Balsama-Mama” mocktail flavored with bergamot orange lime barrel-aged balsamic vinegar to accompany the meal. Members noted how her mix was so much less sweet than the usual cocktail mixes. This is because her ingredients are not chemical-laden, and have a significantly lower sodium, sugar and calorie count per serving. They were delish!
Cleveland Dames ended the meeting by browsing the shelves at The Olive and The Grape, selecting one-of-a-kind products to take home to flavor their own recipes.