This specialty from the Italian provinces of Modena and Reggio in the region Emilia-Romagna is also called balsamic vinegar, although it is not really conventional vinegar and the manufacturing process has been completely different for centuries. Legend has it that the then most powerful Italian nobleman, Duke Boniface of Canossa (985-1052) gave the German Emperor Henry IV (1050-1106) a vial on his proverbial passage to Canossa (30 km west of Modena). But that can not be right, because the Canossagang did not take place until 1077 and at this time Boniface was no longer living.
But it is possible that Henry IV met the balsam by Mathilde (1046-1115), the daughter and ruler-successor of Boniface. In any case, it is certain that Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519) ate a spoonful of balsamic a day as a refreshment for body and soul. The princes of Este first introduced a classification of the "Aceto Balsamico" in the middle of the 16th century.
In the 1980s, a separate DOC classification for "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" was created, but then abandoned. Now everyone is allowed to produce a balsamic vinegar, but not to call it a traditional one, this is reserved for the two production associations "Consorzio Produttori di Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" and "di Reggio Emilia". The differences between the two producers are in the grape varieties used and in the categorization. Starting product for Balsamico Tradizionale is cooked grape juice,
After the naturally occurring fermentation of acetic acid follows a long aging and storage in smaller and smaller barrels of different types of wood, where it is gradually becoming more concentrated. There may be none flavorings be added. He ripens at least 12 to 25 years in extreme cases and is bottled in the typical small 0.1-liter vial. The syrup-like balsamic vine has an intense dark brown color and a characteristic sweet and sour, caramel Taste. Incidentally, it is more expensive than saffron and is only used to refine droplets Food used. See also below acetic acid,