A Tasty Touch Of Acid

Specialty vinegars are the tartest new trend

In ancient Greece the physician Hippocrates prescribed it as an antiseptic. In the Italian city of Modena, precious bottles of aceto balsamico are still handed down like heirlooms. And at trendy dinners in Los Angeles, where the piripiri meets the mahimahi, it's as spicy a table topic as what went awry with Robin Hood.

We're talking serious vinegar now, the familiar sour wine (a literal translation of the French vin aigre) that has become the condiment of the hour -- and not just to sprinkle on salads or pickle veggies. As diet-conscious customers shun butter and cream, top toques at grand-luxe...

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