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It makes a splash

Contrary to popular opinion, balsamic is not the only vinegar around. There are as many flavors as there are dishes to add them to, including Japanese rice vinegar, American cider vinegar, and aromatic French wine vinegars. In Spain, vinegar is made from casks of sherry aged and acetified in breezy, airy bodegas. The result is profoundly refined: a clear, refreshing, tangy vinegar, mellowed by the elegantly nutty flavor of the delicious aperitif. Along with a pinch of saffron, sherry vinegar adds character to homemade tomato sauce or a salad of sliced cucumbers. You can also toss it with thinly shredded cabbage, mild peppers, and a drizzle of olive oil for mayo-less Spanish slaw.

Sherry vinegar is available at Whole Foods markets; Cardullo's Gourmet Shoppe, 6 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-491-8888; or www.tienda.com.

Sherry vinegar
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