The Story of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Italy!
Modena is an amazing city in the heart of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region between Parma and Bologna. Like most of the Emilia-Romagna provinces, the area where Modena now stands was part of the ancient pre-Roman Etruscan civilization’s territory before Rome took over. The inner city is a perfectly preserved medieval town with cobblestone streets and one of Italy’s most striking cathedrals. The Duomo of Modena is a 12th-Century cathedral dedicated to St. Germain and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its impressive Gothic architecture.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is an ancient product having been recorded in the royal archives of
Emperor Henry II in 1046, when he gave some as a gift to Countess Matilde of Canossa. At that time it was used as an elixir and the recipe was a secret, passed from father to son. Since then, Balsamic Vinegar has been known as a precious condiment with special therapeutic properties.
Our supplier began their artisan vinegar company in 1889. Surrounded by rural farmlands and a passion for the Earth’s bounty, the company continues under the watchful eye of the third generation. Prepared using ancient traditional procedures, the process begins with careful selection of the Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes. They are ideal for the high sugar content required for production. These grapes are pressed and the resulting juice called “must” is heated in copper cauldrons until the volume is reduced through evaporation to about 40% of the original weight. The liquid is then decanted into wooden barrels (chestnut, oak, juniper and cherry) and left to age and transform into vinegar. As time goes by, part of the liquid evaporates and part of the liquid is absorbed into the wood. This is the moment called “rincalzo” which happens in the period of grape harvest. The liquid is transferred into smaller barrels while the new “must” is added to “top off” the bigger barrel. And so continues the process.