Origins of balsamic vinegar
The regions of Emilia-Romagna and Modena made this special product popular. The areas have always been famous for its vinegars. Some of them were made with plain cooked must while others were mixing it with fermented, spiced must. Until the first half of the 19th century, balsamic vinegar remained a peculiarity of Modena, almost entirely unknown outside the area. Only after Italy’s unification and growth of national and European trade, its commercialization improved.
For more than 20 years balsamic vinegar production has been protected by The Consortium of Producers of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena that makes sure specific rules are followed during all stages of production. Nowadays, balsamic vinegar is known worldwide and is present on almost all Italian tables. Due to its versatility, balsamic vinegar has many uses such as dressing salad and fruit as well as adding it to many meat or pasta recipes.
The Consortium of Producers of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena instituted rules and regulations to be followed when making ‘true’ balsamic vinegar. In April 2000, the European Union granted this product the highest recognition by awarding it a D.O.P (Protected Origin Denomination) tag, ensuring consistency and continuation of this centuries-long tradition. Within the Consortium, professional tasters guarantee each bottle is produced in compliance with all the rules, regulations and procedures set forth by the Consortium itself.
Types of balsamic vinegar
Based on the ageing period, the Consortium has denominated two types of balsamic vinegar:
- Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, which is aged for a minimum of 12 years
- Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena Extra Vecchio (Extra Old), which is aged for a minimum of 25 years.
When professional tasters give their approval, vinegar makers can bottle their product in specific bottles, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. These unique bottles are guaranteeing the vinegar inside has been produced in accordance to all the rules, regulations and traditional procedures. Only balsamic vinegar kept in these bottles is considered the real traditional balsamic vinegar.