Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

October 3, 2017Niry Fidelis

Secrets and Passion behind The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Modena finally comes out with
its traditional balsamic vinegar, kept secret for years and years. The entire
world uses the balsamic dressing, which is just a remake of the original
traditional one.  It is in fact time to know the truth. The traditional
balsamic vinegar is achieved through a long procedure from grape must, which is
aged for several years in a series of wooden barrels.  Most of the people
in this world don’t have an idea of its work procedures and confuses this
product with the commercial one called Balsamic Vinegar.

The name itself is little bit
confusing indeed. This industrial product is the cheaper one for the public,
made of grape must blended with wine vinegar, sugar syrup and all the
necessary to reach the requested colour and taste. Its retail cost is around €
0.30 per liter. Meanwhile the traditional one has only grape must
and traces its roots to the XI century, since that moment, due to its
higher price it has been destined for domestic use or for special gift.
Nowadays it is also used in higher class restaurants. Because of its long
processing it costs about € 500.00 per liter. In fact the minimum aging period
can last from 12 to 15 years. Above 25 it becomes precious. Time is the most
important ingredient. The grape must is cooked slowly at 60° C in an open
vessel until it is reduced to one third of its original volume. It is then
placed in wooden barrels, where it passes years acidifying until it reaches the
wanted balance. Each year the wooden barrel is to be changed and as each of
them is made of different types of wood, the vinegar absorbs the complex flavours
of the casks. The aging process can be stopped at the year of 15 or 25. As it
goes on aging it evaporates and gets thicker and darker therefore more

After passing a strict
test, it is bottled and sealed.  The judgers express their evaluation
through scores, necessary to classify the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of
Modena. The product can be sold as Traditional Balsamic Vinegar for the ones
aged 15 and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar extra-vecchio for the ones aged 25. If
it doesn’t pass the test it can’t be bottled therefore sold. So imagine after
all those years of working if your product is refused by the judges! Its
production is strictly overseen from the beginning to the end until it goes
through the certification agency.

Nowadays all
these hidden “acetaias” can be visited, many of them are
free of charge. We visited the “Acetaia Rossetti” in Bastiglia, (MO). They have
some big barrels on the ground floor meanwhile, the smaller ones are
located on the rooftop. Mr. Marcello Rossetti explained us all the
working procedures. The tour lasted 30 minutes and ended up with
the vinegar tasting. It was really worth visiting. Probably I will
never have money to buy a liter of it but at least I’m happy I have seen how
proudly the Modenese are preserving this old tradition.

It is a matter of
passion and secrets which is handed down (necessarily) from one generation
to the next. All of my pictures here are coming from Acetaia Rossetti.  If
you are close to Modena, don’t miss out the experience to learn the truth about
the most wanted dressing in the world. 

Click here for more photos of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev Post

A Gem in the Historic Centre of Ravenna

September 29, 2017

Next Post

Let's visit the Olina Bridge

October 16, 2017