What Is Mosto Cotto?

If you're a fan of wine, grapes, vinegar or sweet and tangy condiments, there's an essential Italian ingredient you're about to welcome into your pantry. What is mosto cotto? It's a delicious addition to your salad, fruit, ice cream or even glass of water, and a delightful by-product of the winemaking process.

Mosto cotto, also called vino cotto or saba, is made by cooking the liquid that results from initial whole grape pressings — seeds, skin, stems and all. By reducing it down to a syrup, the complex flavors that give wine its unique, distinctive notes are amplified. The resulting product is a sweet, tangy addition to savory dishes as well as desserts.

In Italian cuisine, you'll find mosto cotto in many applications. Whether spooned onto panna cotta or simple fruit desserts, drizzled over hard aged cheese or, as mentioned previously, stirred into a glass of water for a natural thirst-quencher that's delicious during the hotter months.

What happens if you let mosto cotto sit in its aging barrels? Why, balsamic vinegar, of course! Bottled before it turns sour, mosto cotto is the sweet to balsamic's pungent.