This specialty from the Italian provinces of Modena and Reggio in the region Emilia-Romagna is also known as balsamic vinegar, although it is not actually conventional vinegar and the manufacturing process has been completely different for centuries. Legend has it that Duke Bonifatius of Canossa (985-1052), the most powerful Italian noble at the time, gave the German Emperor Henry IV (1050-1106) a bottle on his proverbial journey to Canossa (30 km west of Modena). This cannot be true, however, because the Canossa walk only took place in 1077, and by this time Boniface was no longer alive.
But it is possible that Henry IV got to know the balsamic vinegar through Mathilde (1046-1115), the daughter and successor of Boniface. In any case, it is guaranteed that Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519) took a spoonful of balsamic vinegar every day as a refreshment for body and soul. The princes of Este first introduced a classification of "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 make a balsamic vinegar, but not to call it traditional, 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 lie in the grape varieties used and in the categorization. The starting product for Balsamico Tradizionale is cooked grape juice,
After the naturally occurring acetic acid fermentation, there is a long aging and storage period in increasingly smaller barrels of different types of wood, where it is gradually concentrated. No one is allowed to do so flavorings be added. It matures for at least 12 to 25 years in extreme cases and is filled into the typical small 0.1 liter bottles. The syrup-like balsamic vinegar has an intensely bright dark brown and a characteristic sweet and sour caramel Taste. Incidentally, it is more expensive than saffron and only drops to refine it Food used. See also under acetic acid,