Traditional Aceto Balsamico di Modena (traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena) has been produced for centuries in this historic Italian city. Authentic balsamic vinegar has little in common with the substitutes we usually find in our neighborhood’s supermarkets. Its long aging process is the source of legends. People say a man who decides to open an acetaia to produce vinegar, must do it for his grandchildren because he will not live long enough to enjoy the profits. Join us as we review three of the best samples of this exquisite Italian ingredient: Oracolo, by Acetaia di Giorgio, Balsamico Tradizionale Extra Vecchio, by Acetaia del Cristo, and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Extravecchio, by Compagnia Del Montale.Authentic balsamic vinegar starts with cooked wort obtained from grapes harvested in late autumn, which have a higher sugar content. It is then aged using a method similar to the one used for sherry in oak, chestnut, cherry, or mulberry barrels. The process can last from a minimum of 12 years to a maximum of half a century.The term “balsamic” refers to its former use as a remedy for rheumatism. Balsamic vinegar was thought to have curative properties when ingested in small doses or rubbed on the affected area. But the only vinegar that can be considered authentic Modena must show on its label the abbreviation D.O.P (Protected Designation of Origin).Oracolo
Acetaia di Giorgio / Price: $430.00Oracolo, by Acetaia di Giorgio, is a highly-prized 25-year-old traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena. It stands out for its intense and vigorous flavor that reveals the excellence of vinegar aged in ancient oak and chestnut barrels perfectly preserved. It is ideal for dressing salmon and beef carpaccio and to add a vibrant touch to roasted meats.Balsamico Tradizionale Extra Vecchio
Acetaia del Cristo / Price: $210.00
This excellent vinegar, aged over 25 years, boast harmonious and mature characteristics with a complex, intense aroma. In the mouth, it brings rich and full balsamic sensations, with good and cohesive acidity and an exultant, lingering finish. A few drops are enough to obtain a culinary delight when paired with beef tenderloin or any dish with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale “Extravecchio”
Compagnia Del Montale / Price: $178.00
This vinegar–aged for 25 years–shows a perfect harmony of acidity and sweetness and a fragrant aroma. If used with hot pasta dishes, it must be added just before removing from the heat to maintain its organoleptic properties. Add just a drop to a dark chocolate ice cream and discover a whole new world of sensations. The sublime taste of this vinegar enhances all fruit-based desserts. ■