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A short history of balsamic glaze—the sticky condiment that epitomises an era of British culture

From cheap overseas holidays and cool Britannia to the rise of the gastropub, balsamic glaze was a middle-class staple that became an icon of the 1990s

By Josh Barrie  

Balsamic glaze became iconic in the 1990s. Photo: PA/Prospect Composite

Britain’s Balsamic Glaze Days kicked-off in the 1980s. The condiment, a versatile, sweet reduction made by adding sugar to balsamic vinegar and cooking it down to thicken, arrived during a time of chicken Kievs and Viennetta, vol au vents and trifle; when chicken satay was still mysteriously exotic and PizzaExpress was one of the most rousing haunts in town—or so I’m told.

“I can remember thinking it was quite delicious in the early years, and its inky,…

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