Sweet and salty, hot and sour — opposites sometimes do attract and can produce a symphony of flavor and layers of taste that unfold sequentially on our palates. These contrasts are often found in well-conceived curries or sauces but when a bottle of chocolate balsamic vinegar found its way into my kitchen, it also found a shortcut to my heart, by way of my palate. This particular bottle was produced locally by Kelly Walker, of Chocolates by Kelly, a confectioner who comes to the job honestly, with generations of family before her professionally producing candy and blazing a path of sweetness. As a dipping sauce or whisked into a salad dressing, it's a versatile treat. (And stupendous on fresh, ripe strawberries.) I used it to give some depth to a sauce for braised short ribs, and it added a subtle sweetness that complemented the hearty meal.