Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
03 October 2022
The origins of balasmic vi negar date back to ancient Roman times, and in Modena several types of it have always existed, although all, of course, are obtained with grape must. They are successively enriched with various flavors depending on recipe, preparation and aging methods. The term “balsamico” or balsamic, rather, was first used in 1747, as a descriptor of the stocks held in the wine cellars of Modena’s Ducal Palace most likely, the name resulted from the product’s therapeutic use. The vinegar was described as having a refreshing, balsamic or softening effect. Modenese vinegar producers multiplied in the 1800s, while the economic boom after the Second World War encouraged them to commercialize the condiment under the name Balsamic Vinegar. This and exposition events eventually increased the product’s fame around the world. Then, strict techniques were established with the “Composition Characteristics and Preparation Procedures,” followed by the IGP label for Aceto Balsamico di Modena, granted by the European Commission in 2009.
"L'Aceto Balsamico di Modena" is an organic product obtained from the must of grapes, and only grapes that grow in Lambruschi, Sangiovese, Trebbiani, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana, and Montuni vineyards. Wine vinegar is added to the grape must, as well as, in some recipes, caramel (not more than 2%). Once mixed, the ingredients are left in wooden containers for at least 60 days. Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, rather, is left in the containers for three years or more.
Balsamic vinegar is customarily served as aperitivo on slivers of Parmigiano Reggiano, or as a condiment on meat, on aged cheeses, vegetables au gratin, capaccio, salads and risotto. It can also be used to cook, as long as it is added at the very end, so as not to lose its flavor. More refined palates use it on strawberries and gelato. “Acetaie aperte” (a sort of open house of the best vinegar makers) runs every September, in which more than 30 producers of Balsamic Vinegar partecipate. During the event, the producers located in Modena and the rest of its Province allow visitors to see their artisan factories and partake in tastings.