Kitchen. Balsamic vinegar: watch out for imitations

While all vinegars are made from wine, this little nectar from the city of Modena is made from cooked grape must. Moreover, it is sometimes several varieties of raisins that enter into its composition! That said, it is an essential grape variety for its development, Trebbiano which will be added, according to the producers, Berzemino, Lambrusco, Occhio di gatto and Spergola.

Once the grape juice has been collected, it is cooked for 24 to 30 hours and reaches a temperature of between 85 and 90°. Thus, the aromas will be concentrated and the natural sugars caramelized. While cooking, the future balsamic vinegar will lose up to 60% of its volume.

Stored in barrels after decantation, the vinegar will start its alcoholic fermentation to finish at 4% alcohol. Then, under the effect of bacteria, the acetification of the must will take place. As it is produced for a cognac or an armagnac, the future balsamic vinegar will be decanted into a certain number of barrels.

Thus, each container will enrich it with different aromas. These containers are made of oak, chestnut, cherry, ash, mulberry and sometimes even juniper. So many varied essences for so many original perfumes…

Well-kept secrets

Modena and its region benefit from a very special climate that is completely conducive to the process of making this incredible vinegar. The producers do everything to promote the most intense thermal shocks and thus produce the complexity of the vinegar. And then, it is obvious that time is a capital factor in the elaboration of a traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena.

Three categories stand out: the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, with its 12 years of age, has a red ring. It is served with meat, salad and appetizers.

If his ring is silver, he is 18 years old. There, it makes a beautiful marriage with fish and cheese. The extra old at least 25 years old. Thicker, it is appreciated on desserts.

Stop the imitations!

The defenders of this nectar have a hard time finding their place in the jungle of products called balsamic vinegars. The consumer should know that with its 100 hectoliters per year, the production of traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena remains confidential and therefore not very commercialized.

Worse still, the price displayed means nothing. Some imitations are, in fact, sold at high prices, taking advantage of the reputation of the famous vinegar.

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