I grew up pretty much in the middle of nowhere in western Massachusetts, so learning to make agrodolce—a sweet, sour, and sticky sauce from Sicily—in culinary school felt very fancy to me. It also stung the nostrils and took forever to make. But there is something about the combination of agro and dolce (“sour” and “sweet” in Italian) that should be the 6th taste.
Traditionally, agrodolce is made by simmering sugar, vinegar, pine nuts, and dried fruit until a caramelly sauce forms. It is used as a glaze for meat or charred vegetables and as a condiment on panini and salumi boards. Based on the sheer versatility of this condiment, and my weakness for subtle and beautiful neutral-toned packaging, you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon the Agrodolce White Wine Vinegar at my local Trader Joe’s.
The bottle is stunning, and the vinegar’s golden hue just begged me to add a bottle or two to my cart. Now, I have a lot of love for Trader Joe’s, but sometimes my impulse purchases don’t always pan out. Luckily, this stuff is the real deal. At just $5.99 a bottle, this is an addition to your pantry that is very much worth the ROI.
I crave the bright, briny, and tart flavors a splash or two of agrodolce brings to my summer dishes. Add it to dressings, to finish soups, risotto, or pasta, or even pair it with creamy cheeses by drizzling a little bit on top before serving. It’s also a great way to get your kids to eat almost any vegetable under the sun—it mellows out bitter vegetables like broccoli and kale, and lends a lovely sweetness.
And in case the veggie experiment with your kids goes south, agrodolce is phenomenal in cocktails. Think of it as a cheater’s shrub—muddle a little fruit, like peaches, plums or strawberries, in a glass with a few shakes of this liquid gold. Then, top with ice, your spirit of choice, and seltzer or ginger beer. Next time you’re at Trader Joe’s, guaranteed you’ll add not just one but two bottles into your cart.