Saba was the common sweetener in Italy 500 years ago. Times change. Today, sugar is cheap and saba is rare and more expensive, left to be the sweetener of choice for Italian aficionados and those who want more complex flavor than what you find in simple syrups.
Normally, saba would be made from grape must. If you were to stop the making of traditional balsamic just before it turns into vinegar, you’d get this wonderfully dense and delicious syrup. This one, however, is not made from trebbiano grape must but from apple must. The reason for shucking tradition? The maker, Marino Tintori, said it was simply because of taste. Taken with the fact that Mr. Tintori makes aged balsamic vinegars almost exclusively, that's saying a lot. "The grape must saba is too sharp,” he says This apple saba is very well balanced, and I think he's on to something.
For a treat, mix this saba with fresh ricotta and bake for thirty minutes at 350°F. Use saba to top off pancakes or crèpes, add it to yogurt along with toasted walnuts or pour it over the best vanilla ice cream you can find.