Traditional balsamic vinegar is the granddaddy of balsamic vinegars. To this day it is only made in Reggio Emilia and Modena, Italy, using traditional methods, and production is overseen from beginning to end by a special certification agency.
Balsamic vinegar can be used at the end of cooking. It’s excellent drizzled over traditional veal scaloppine, a rich risotto, or the Italian stew bollito misto. It’s also great over grilled meats and seafood. Add about a teaspoon per person just before serving to get the best of its flavor.
In Italy really good balsamic is also drunk as a palette cleanser, aperitif or digestif, especially on special occasions such as weddings. The name “balsamic” connotes the vinegar’s original use as a tonic, or “balm.”
A quarter of a century of traditional aging gives this ultra-versatile condiment an intense, complex flavor. Balsamic vinegars like this one are among the most prized of Italian elixirs, crafted from the pure wine must (unfermented grape juice) of white Trebbiano grapes, which is aged in wooden barrels according to time-honored techniques. From Modena, Italy, ours is made by slowly simmering the grapes in copper cauldrons, then combining the reduction with older balsamic vinegar to help speed acidification. The blend is transferred to oak barrels, which imbue the aged vinegar with rich aroma, flavor and color.