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We Found the Best Balsamic Vinegar In the World—Really

Best Balsamic Vinegar In the Whole Wide World—Really | NextTribe

Confession: I now regularly spend upwards of $40 on balsamic vinegar, but don’t judge me. Dammit, the best balsamic vinegar in the world is worth every penny.

About 10 years ago, a friend presented me with a bottle of Villa Manodori Balsamic Vinegar as a hostess gift. I must have had a what-no-candle? look on my face, because she proceeded to take out the cork (yes, cork), and drizzle some of this intense, gloriously molasses-like stuff onto my salad.

 Best Balsamic Vinegar In the Whole Wide World—Really | NextTribeShe told me it was made by Italian monks and is basically nectar to the Gods of Cooking. Or more specifically, a very dark, concentrated, and strongly flavored vinegar made from “grape must”—freshly pressed, whole grapes, including skin, seeds, stems (and nothing like the watery stuff you get for $10 next to the Heinz distilled variety). I have never looked back.

I did, however, look askance, when I ran out and discovered the cost of an 8.5-ounce bottle of Villa (it’s almost $40 on Amazon). But seeing as it elevates almost anything I cook, I went ahead and plunked down my credit card. This precious syrup (which ages at least a decade before you buy it) became the only condiment that actually made food edible when my doctor put me on a low-salt diet….and the night I wanted to impress the hell out of guests, I whipped up Mario Batali’s Balsamic Zabaglione for dessert. (Don’t ask; just Google the recipe and make it now.)

Pricey? Yes. But a little goes a long way.

 –Hillary Quinn

 

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different types of tea

Tea Is Aging Boldly!

Back in the day, tea was simply the stuff with the Lipton label on it. Good, basic, but no surprises. Then, over the years, in swept the herbal varieties (Red Zinger, anyone?), the green, health-boosting versions, the rooibos (still struggling to pronounce that one …) kind, and more. We longtime and recent tea lovers rejoiced!

Now, in most cities and towns across America, there are many, many more types of tea. And some of the newest ones are worth discovering this summer. Bubble teas or boba teas are found in cafes and mall shops, offering concoctions that hail from Taiwan. They’re usually served icy cold, in tall glasses with wide straws, because along with the tea, milk, and flavorings are tapioca pearls or other jelly-like beads that add a fun, offbeat texture (at least to U.S. palates) to the drink. 

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Sweet Fun

These drinks are a fun indulgence instead of ice cream as the temperatures tick up—and when we say indulgence, that’s code for calorific. They are often blended with sweetened condensed milk instead of regular milk, bringing the calories into the 300 to 600 range! (You can ask to swap in different milks to bring it in line.) Now that we’ve shared the buzzkill details, let’s focus on the fun. Often brightly colored, these teas come in all kinds of enticing flavors. At Boba Tea KC in Kansas City, Missouri, you can sample honeydew, lychee, mango, or taro, the latter being a root vegetable.

different types of tea

Fruit tea is refreshing. YiFang offers several flavors. Image: Little Foodie/Instagram

Another kind of tea to try: Fruit tea. One chain, Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea, serves up tea with different levels of sweetness and ice, and you pick the fresh fruit that gets chopped up and added to your drink. Pineapple, passion fruit, winter melon, green plum, apples, and oranges are among the options. And if you want to go all in, you can get fruit tea with the boba/bubbles in it. Regardless of what variety you try, it’s a fun way to cool off this season and a perfect way to break out of the afternoon “Want to get an iced coffee?” rut. — Janet Siroto

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How Old Is Madonna? 60! Happy Birthday to the Material Girl | NextTribe

Happy Birthday to the Material Girl

Look who’s turning 60! Madonna, the world’s best-selling female recording artist and the culture-changer we all grew up with. You may not like her fake British accent but let’s recognize that not only is she showing she can pack a stadium at this life stage, but she’s also a pioneer in a million and one ways.

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