The traditional recipe, made only from grape must produced exclusively in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, yields a dense, precious liquid reserved for prestigious uses. Many years ago, producers from the province of Modena modified the recipe. They added wine vinegar to the grape must diluting the content and therefore lowering the sales price. Consequently, several variations of the product were created, allowing for new culinary uses that were simply not possible with the expensive traditional recipe.
How it’s Made
Balsamic vinegar can only be produced in Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy. The process of making it begins by cooking Trebbiano grape juice. This cooking reduces the water content of the juice, turning it into a syrup called must. The must is then poured into the first wooden barrel of a Solera series, mixed with an older Balsamic vinegar batch to begin the acetification process. Each year 50% of the vinegar is transferred down the line to a slightly smaller barrel, along the way acquiring some of the flavors of the different woods. The only approved woods are oak, cherry, chestnut, mulberry, acacia, juniper, and ash.