On the shops ‘shelves there are many bottles defining themselves Balsamic Vinegar, but how can we buy the right one? This is a common question. So we try to explain a little bit the difference but for sure the best way is to taste the difference.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar (ABT) is a traditional condiment of Italian cuisine, produced with cooked grape must coming exclusively from the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia, fermented, acetified and then aged for at least twelve years. And this is the bottle of a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar by Malpighi.
Product among the most appreciated – and often imitated – of Italian cuisine, since 2000 it has been protected by the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) mark, recognized in two different denominations – Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (ABTM) and Balsamic Vinegar Traditional from Reggio Emilia (ABTRE).
The transformation process of musts can take place only in the particular environmental and climatic conditions typical of the attics of the old houses and only in the territory of the two Emilian provinces, characterized by harsh winters and hot and windy summers. For these reasons it cannot be obtained with industrial or large-scale processes, so its production is very limited and the price quite high.
On the market there are many products, condiments and vinegars that qualify as “balsamic”, or in any case use this term in a more or less proper way.
First of all we have Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI, which is a product composed with different proportions of wine vinegar (absolutely not present in ABT) and cooked must, usually industrial, and is protected by a different specification. Anyway a high level product.
Here we have a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar del Duca
Then we have real traditional balsamic vinegars which, however, have not been subjected to the whole complex (and expensive) certification procedure in order to use the DOP brand. These are productions that can only be reached locally, or if you have any chance to know the individual producer.
Finally we have by-products or reworkings based on wine, rice, apple or other vinegar with the addition of sweeteners
In the pictures here we introduce two of the many serious companies brands in Modena or Reggio Emilia. They produce the traditional Balsamic Vinegar, the Balsamic Vinegar and many other products related to these two.
And if you’re traveling to Italy the best idea is to visit one of these producers. The one we lately we visited is Leonardi near Modena And from the picture you can easily understand the care given to these production .
Of course when cooking the traditional Balsamic Vinegar has to be used in drops, not only because expensive but as it is a concentration of flavors. Balsamic Vinegar can be used more freely, so perfect for dressing salads .Try not to cook with them, but just use them at the end of the cooking to preserve their flavors, intentionally using this word as it means a complicated mix of sensory data.
Tasting real unique Traditional Balsamic Vinegar you will never be disappointed, probably surprised.