Understanding Balsamic


THE ORIGINS


Balsamic Vinegar is a condiment originating  from Italy and precisely from the village of SPILAMBERTO (home to VILLA MODENA), in the province of Modena.


Balsamic  has been known since the Middle Ages but it's origin is still shrouded in mystery : the locals in Spilamberto claim that it originated from a "mistake" :   a parcel of cooked grape must,  (unfermented grape juice),  was left forgotten in a wooden barrel for a long period of time and when it was found again a natural acidification process occurred and the product was deliciously dense , bitter and sweet.


The word balsamico  means "balsam--like" in the sense of "restorative" or "curative" because this has always been considered as a healthy condiment.

TRADIZIONALE  

Considered one of the rarest and most expensive food products in the World,  (only about 100.000 bottles become available each year for the World market), TRADIZIONALE is protected by the European Union with a PDO designation (Protected Designation of Origin) .  This means that, by law,  all the raw materials and the production methods and ageing need to take place within the province of Modena , Italy.

The product can be aged either min. 12 years  ("Affinato") or a minimum of 25 years ("Extra Vecchio").


It is available in the 100 ml Giugiaro-designed bottles and comes with a single unit box and recipe booklet.


Due to its thick and dense consistency and balanced taste one ore two drops can be used on any sweet or savoury dish.

ACETO BALSAMICO DI MODENA  IGP 


Protected by the European Union PGI designation (Protected Geographical Indication), this is a less expensive alternative to Tradizionale.  The grapes come from 7 different varietals typical to the Emilia Romagna region  (Sangiovese, Lambrusco, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortuna, Montuni) and, by law, the  blending and ageing process has to take place in the provinces  of Modena and Reggio Emilia , Italy.


The density can range greatly - an inexpensive Balsamic  will have  a low density and will be suitable for salad dressings and everyday use.  A more Premium Balsamic will have a high percentage of grape must and therefore a higher density and will be suitable for salad dressings but also for use in sauces, marinades and for drizzling on meat, cheese, vegetables and strawberries.


By law, all Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP has an acidity of min. 6% and the minimum bottling size is 250 ml. (8.45 oz).





VOLUNTARY STAR CLASSIFICATION




CONDIMENTO


While having a high density, "Condimentos" do not have the complexity of taste or aroma of longer aged products.


The selling units are often 250 ml (8.45 Fl Oz) or even less.


There are also  white and pink variants that offer great taste without adding colour to dishes.


Just like with Balsamic Vinegar , the density can range greatly - an inexpensive Condimento  will have  a low density and a bitter taste and will be suitable only for salad dressings and everyday use.  A more Premium Condimento will have a high percentage of grape must and therefore a higher density and will be suitable for salad dressings but also for use in sauces, marinades and for drizzling on meat, cheese, vegetables and strawberries.

 

BALSAMIC GLAZES (CREMAS)

 

Today, in almost every classy restaurant in the World you will see dishes decorated with a "Balsamic Glaze". or "Crema".