Its production follows some very strict steps and rules and gives him the name of black gold.
I speak a lot about it during my food tours in Bologna as a lot of people like to bring it home as a foodie souvenir.
But, as many awarded Italian foods, you need to know what you're buying not to be fooled by the lots of different bottles with different names that you can find in almost all the shops.
But let's start from the beginning.
How Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is made
The grape needs to grow only in the Province of Modena: it's red and white grapes like Lambrusco and Trebbiano.
The result of the grape harvest is cooked for a few hours and then, when it's reduced of half its volume, it's put inside the so-called "mother", an oak barrel of 60L.
Then every year in winter a small quantity of Balsamic is handly transferred into a set of wood-made barrels (usually 5-6) of different sizes and woods like cherry tree or juniper, depending on the flavour you'd like to give to the balsamic.
The barrels are located just under the roofs of the old houses and they're left open on the top and covered: you can't imagine the flavours you get when you enter in one of those attics! After this process called travaso the producers send a sample of it to an authority that will determine if it can be bottled as:
Extravecchio (25years aged)
Every year just 4% of all the vinegar can be bottled.
How to use Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
On cooked foods the balsamic should be added just before removing from the heat, to get enough time to flavor the dish and avoid the loss of its unique aroma.
Did you ever ask why is it called balsamic?
It comes from a Greek word that means solace, refreshment. In fact, Balsamic vinegar was first used as a medicine against stomach diseases, so you can also sip it after a meal, by itself.
Where to buy Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
It must be put inside a glass bottle of 10, 20 or 40 cl designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, which shape reminds both to Modena Cathedral and the barrel where the balsamic is stored.
Keep a lot of attention because some bottles may look like the original one but they're not.
The standard price is usually around:
- 50/60€ for Tradizionale
- 90/120€ for Extravecchio.
You can find the original bottles of Balsamic in a few shops in Bologna like Enoteca Italiana, Gilberto or Tamburini or inside one of the food markets of Bologna.
In Modena, you can walk around the stalls of Albinelli food market or come with us during our Modena food tour to taste 5+ different kinds and get your favorite.
Want to know more about Balsamic?
There's so much to tell about Balsamic.
And the way is undoubtedly to taste the difference with all your senses.
Dig deep into this unique food with a real expert!