The story of Balsamic Vinegar began in 1.100 in the little city of Modena in Italy and it’s now a trending ingredient not only for salad and cheese, but also for sweets and cocktails. Italiaregina.it launches a wide range of authentic PDO and IGP Italian Balsamic Vinegars. Everyone perhaps knows the Italian Balsamic Vinegar as a gourmet ingredient to flavor a salad or Parmigiano Reggiano, but this product is increasingly becoming a trending topic, versatile and incredibly refined. It is not unusual now that a trendy bartender chooses a PDO Balsamic Vinegar to create a unique cocktail, or a 3-star chef to enrich a popsicle with almond and rose petals or to color the soft inside of a muffin. Balsamic Vinegar from Modena is exported in more than 120 countries, and only the 93% of the 97,5 million of liters produced are consumed in Italy. No doubt it’s now a “superstar product”.
But how do you recognize a real PDO or GPI Balsamic Vinegar of Modena? Where does one find the different Italian brands and avoid buying a fake?
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PDO or IGP how to recognize the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena* The Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) is produced from fermented and/or cooked and/or concentrated grape which must come only from Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana and Montuni vines. The minimum percentage of grape must be 20% of the total quantity of the product in order to be sent to processing and the must is added with a minimum amount of 10% at least 10-year-old aged wine vinegar. It must have a minimum total acidity of 8 gr/kg and a minimum net dry extract of 55 gr/kg. Caramel may be added for colour stability, up to a maximum of 2% of the finished product. No other substances may be added. If it’s a PDO or IGP product it will always be indicated by specific labels on the bottle.
How it’s produced
Based on the rules defined by the Consortium (https://www.consorziobalsamico.it ) the processing of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) takes place with the traditional method of acetification through the use of selected bacterial colonies or with the lenta in superficie (slow surface) or lenta “a truciolo” (slow wood shavings) methods. Next comes the maturation phase: acetification and maturation both take place in barrels, vats or casks made from precious woods, such as sessile oak, chestnut, oak, mulberry and juniper. The minimum maturation time is 60 days, counting from the moment in which the raw materials, mixed in the right proportions, are sent to processing.
Aging: Once the 60-day maturation stage in wooden vats has been completed, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) can be further aged. If this phase lasts over three years, the finished product can boast the “aged” classification.
Packaging: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) obtained this way is ready for direct consumption. It is transferred into glass, wooden, earthenware or terracotta containers of different capacities: 0.250L; 0.500L; 0.750L; 1L; 2L; 3L or 5L.
Labelling: The packaging must bear the words Aceto Balsamico di Modena, together with the Protected Geographical Indication. If the product was aged for more than three years, the packaging also bears the word “Aged”. Producers associated with the Protection Consortium are allowed to display the Consortium logo on the label.
Territorial constraints: The Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico di Modena) production specifications require that the assembly of raw materials, processing, maturation and/or aging in containers from precious wood must take place in the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The finished product can, however, be packaged outside of the geographical area of origin.