Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is today a very well-known ingredient in kitchens all around the world. Chefs are familiar with its unique sweet and sour flavor and the many, sometimes very original uses in shaping unique dishes.
But Balsamic Vinegar of Modena has also made its way to the homes of many that have been enchanted by its tangy and complex notes and syrupy texture.
What may not be common knowledge is the fact that there are many different types of Balsamic Vinegar, and while some may be cheap, choosing the right product can represent a revolution in any kitchen.
Where does Balsamic Vinegar come from?
This very dark vinegar, typically concentrated and with intense and unique flavors comes from Modena, Italy. In fact, it is commonly known as Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
Records first show it to be around thousands years ago. Traditions surrounding the production of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena are as old and many have survived the industrialization process, meaning that today we can enjoy a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena that carries a long history of unique and well-kept heritage.
What types of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena are there?
When it comes to different types of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, there is a little secret that will help anyone choose the best product. Europe has long ago established the D.O.P. denomination (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) for products that have defining characteristics owed to the place where they come from.
Balsamic Vinegar has two main D.O.P. in Italy, the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena D.O.P. and the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia D.O.P.
These Traditional D.O.P. Balsamic Vinegar can be expensive, going up to a few hundred dollars a bottle. What the average Joe can find in the supermarket is known as Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP (or in Italian, Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP). The IGP, also PGI, denomination shows that the Balsamic Vinegar was indeed produced and aged in Modena, Italy, assuring the customer of the quality of the product they are buying.
All the same, don’t be fooled. The word Balsamic Vinegar does not define an authentic product. The DOP and IGP certifications, on the other hand, guarantee the authenticity of the product linked to Italy and Modena.
Is there really that big of a difference?
When we are talking about Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, there are many regulations in place to assure the flavor of the final product is consistent and probably quite like what it used to be hundreds of years ago. D.O.P. denominations are known for being strict down to the point of defining what type of wooden barrels Balsamic Vinegar should age in.
The denomination Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena D.O.P. guarantees a product made with typical Modena grapes, aged for at least 12 years and bottled in the Modena area.
IGP is another denomination that, while a bit more flexible, still links the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena to the land where producers have been working on it for centuries.
Still wondering why this matters? In Modena, Balsamic Vinegar is made from a combination of wine vinegar and a reduction of grapes, called grape must. Places like Acetaia Leonardi, offer tours of their facilities, where they grow their own Trebbiano and Lambrusco vineyards, and where the whole process of production of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is explained step by step.
Acetaia Leonardi’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is one of the most well-known in the area and can be found all around the world. The best part? Their products are made respecting the family traditions that go back hundreds of years, guaranteeing the quality of the Balsamic Vinegar that ends on your table.
Choosing the right Balsamic Vinegar of Modena can make a huge difference in how your dishes are received, it can add flavor to your life and a tangy note that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is unique in its texture and flavor, so choosing a denomination, like Dop and IGP, will guarantee you get the best quality Balsamic Vinegar.