A bottle of saba surrounded by fresh back grapes
What Is Saba And How Do You Use It?
Saba, known as "the poor man's balsamic," is an Italian syrup made from slow-cooked Trebbiano or Lambrusco grapes, and sometimes figs, which has a slightly acidic yet sweet flavor.
Its deep port wine hue and sweet plum and raisin notes resemble balsamic vinegar, but it sells for $10 to $25 a bottle, a stark contrast to genuine aged balsamic at $100.
Chefs substitute saba for balsamic vinegar in marinades, dressings, and sauces. It’s also used as a condiment on charcuterie boards and pairs well with aged, salty cheeses.
To balance sweet dishes, saba offers a sharp flavor contrast. It can be drizzled on ice cream and fresh fruit, or added to baked desserts with berries, pears, apples, or peaches.
Unlike its pricier cousin, saba doesn't require aging and boasts a longer shelf-life, another reason why it’s a must-have in any kitchen to enhance savory and sweet dishes alike.