Balsamic vinegar originated here over a thousand years ago. Even though imitations are now made throughout Italy, the real ones, that are aged for decades and are syrupy rich can only be made here. Once you taste one, you will never want to use the four dollar supermarket imitiations.
In Medieval times, balsamic vinegar was valued for its healing properties. The name is a derivation of the word ‘balm’, derived from the Latin term ‘balsamum, something that acts as a reliever or healer. The correct name for authentic balsamic vinegar is Aceto Balsamico
The ancient art of making a sweet condiment from grape juice dates back centuries. Romans invented the art of making ’sapa,’ a mixture made from boiled down grape juice and Balsamico has been made in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages. The European union’s Protected Designation of Origin protects the names “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena” and “Aceto Balsmico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia”. Consortium-sealed Tradizionale balsamic vinegar 100 ml bottles can cost between U.S.$100 and $400 each.
Traditional Balsamico is made from a reduction of cooked grapes and is not vinegar in the usual sense. Produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically trebbiano), it is boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must. A slow aging process in old wooden casks, concentrates the flavors, which intensifies over decades, becoming sweet, syrupy and very concentrated. The casks are made of cherry wood,ash, mulberry and juniper which help give balsamico its unique flavor. During the aging process, a proportion evaporates. It is said that this is the “angels share”. None of the product may be withdrawn until the end of the aging period (12, 18, or 25 years).