Did you know that Monticello New Mexico, located in the northwest quadrant of Sierra County, is where some of the best organic balsamic vinegar on the planet is made?
The Darland Company LLC makes America’s only traditional-style, organic, aged balsamic vinegar. The Wall Street Journal featured a story about the company and their award winning balsamic in a June 2013 WSJ article titled “A Ghost Town Dressed in Vinegar.”
The Darland’s balsamics are aged for at least 16 years in seven different rare-wood casks (acacia, oak, chestnut, juniper, mulberry, cherry and ash) specially made in Modena, Italy. The specialty woods contribute to the balsamic’s unique flavor.
Steve and Jane Darland planted the original Italian grape vines 20 years ago in their certified organic farm of Monticello, an Old West ghost town that dates back to the 18th century. The climate and elevation in Monticello are ideal for vineyards and the endless continuum aging for balsamic.
“Nearly 80 percent of the world’s authentic, traditional balsamics are made by about 70 producers in Italy; still we are one of the only producers in the world that grows our own grapes and uses classic Italian style organic grapes,” said co-owner Steve Darland. “Grocery store balsamic, which is what Americans are used to, is made with red wine vinegar and caramel and can be made in minutes; it is not a true balsamic and frankly is just a sweetened ‘fake.’ Once you try the real thing, you’ll understand the difference – it’s like the difference between salmon eggs and caviar.”
Balsamic is used as an accompaniment on everything from poultry, fruit, fish, meats, vegetables, breads, cheeses and even desserts.
The Darlands sell and distribute the balsamic vinegar through their website and at the Farmer’s Market in Truth or Consequences (from May through October). At the Farmers Market, they also sell freshly harvested flowers, vegetables and herbs along with their own specialty oils, cleansers and other hand-made goodies.
The balsamic sells for $150 for a 4.5 ounce bottle, which is less expensive than Italian produced varieties whose bottles are 30 percent smaller.
Here’s a video ad from the Darland’s website: