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Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale

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Balsamico-Ricetta

I’d like to tell you about balsamic vinegar, because it’s incredible!

Why would I speak so lofty about a thing that can be bought in any supermarket?

The answer is simple – I have recently tried an authentic balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale) – the one invented and being manufactured for 1000 years in Modena, and, put another way, it’s incredible!

But let’s first clear up the names. What is “balsamic vinegar”? It is a condiment invented in Modena, Italy many years ago. Because of its antibacterial properties it was widely used in medicine and became known as “balsamic”. The production of balsamic vinegar requires a strictly defined and steady technology. It is produced from the one and only ingredient, namely, freshly pressed grape juice which ages for at least 12 years in wooden barrels. Balsamic vinegar is thick, deep brown in color, glossy and complex taste.

Now there are many kinds of imitation balsamic vinegar on the market produced by another technology and made of wine vinegar with the addition of coloring, caramel and thickeners, or in derogations from the original technology (a lesser period of aging, different materials and process etc.). Imitation balsamic differs from real one in taste, ingredients, color and texture. It may be labeled as Aceto Balsamico di Modena and made either in Italy (even in Modena) or in any other country as well. Imitation balsamic may indeed be delicious and affordable though it shouldn’t be confused with authentic balsamic.

Let’s talk about authentic balsamic vinegar and how to tell it from fake.

So, authentic balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale) is one of the most exquisite and world-famous Italian condiments, dark in color and thick in texture. It has a very intense, sour-sweet flavor with fruit and wooden notes – a few drops is enough to add a peculiar flavor to any dish. Balsamic vinegar is widely used in Italian cuisine as a dressing for salads, meat dishes, cocktails and desserts.

The first mention of balsamic vinegar dates back to the year 1064, that is that it has been produced for about 1000 years now.

True balsamic vinegar always has the word tradizionale in its name, which ensures that balsamic was manufactured according to the protected and state-controlled (Italy) traditional manufacturing technology.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced by squeezing juice out of specific local grape varieties into a grape must. The must then is boiled down to a thick syrup which is then naturally fermented. The vinegar is then stored in casks of specific wood types for at least 12 years. During the aging process, the vinegar is transferred from bigger to smaller casks several times and after the aging time of 12 years vinegar from the smallest casks goes finally goes on the market. The taste of vinegar depends on its age and is enhanced with the flavor of the wooden casks it was stored in. That’s why manufacturers always indicated the type of wood the casks were made of (cherry, mulberry, oak, juniper).

balsamico-acetaiaA little over 10 liters of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena is produced annually – which is approximately 1 ml vinegar per 1000 inhabitants in EuropeTraditional balsamic vinegar is produced by squeezing juice out of specific local grape varieties into a grape must. The must then is boiled down to a thick syrup which is then naturally fermented. The vinegar is then stored in casks of specific wood types for at least 12 years. During the aging process, the vinegar is transferred from bigger to smaller casks several times and after the aging time of 12 years vinegar from the smallest casks goes finally goes on the market. The taste of vinegar depends on its age and is enhanced with the flavor of the wooden casks it was stored in. That’s why manufacturers always indicated the type of wood the casks were made of (cherry, mulberry, oak, juniper).

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is quite high-priced and its price increases depending on the vinegar aging time. The minimum aging time is 12 years. The longer the aging period, the more valuable the vinegar is. The price for Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale starts from 60 EUR per 100 ml and can reach hundreds, thousands and sometimes even hundreds of thousands EUR: For example, a 100 ml bottle of balsamic of 1848 costs 150 000 EUR.

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is produced only in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and two provinces – Modena and Reggio Emilia. It means that there are only two brands of true and authentic balsamic –   Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia.

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena

All producers of traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena are joined in the consortium Consorzio dei Produttori dell’Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena .

cons_abtm

The produced by the Consortium vinegar is protected under the European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta – D.O.P.) system, each bottle must be labelled accordingly.

The form is size of the balsamic vinegar bottles are defined by the regulations – for example, the size must only be 100 ml. The bottles for Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Moden were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, a remarkable Italian genius of automobile and industrial design. Men probably know his name as he designed such cars as Lamborgini, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa-Romeo etc.

The bottles are oval shaped with a narrow neck and a distinctive rectangular bottom.

balsamico-certificato

More detailed information you will find on this website.

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia

All producers of traditional balsamic vinegar from Reggio Emilia province are joined in another consortium Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia.

The produced by the Consortium vinegar is also protected under the European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta – D.O.P.) system, each bottle must be labelled accordingly.

The shape and size of the bottle are defined by the regulations as well: 100 ml, pear shaped bottle with an oval bottom.

So, what should be considered when е Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale:

NameAceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena or Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia.

Size: 100 ml

Bottle: Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena – a bottle designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro with a distinctive rectangular bottom. Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia – a bottle with a distinctive design and oval bottom.

balsamico-acetaia

CertificatesDenominazione d’Origine Protetta – D.O.P. 

OriginItaly, Emilia Romagna region, Modena or Reggio Emilia provinces.

Manufacturer: A member of Consorzio dei Produttori dell’Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena  or Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia. You will find a list of the member manifacturers on the official websites of both consortiums.

Ingredients: the only ingredient must be indicated, which is a grape must (mosto di uva).

Color: black brown.

Consistency: thick.

Aging time: at least 12 years.

Price: no less than 60 EUR for a balsamic aged 12 years.

Bon appetite and enjoy your delightful and delicious bargains!

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