Itinerary: Modena, Reggio Emilia
Traditional Modena's balsamic vinegar, sweet-and-sour flavor
The balsamic vinegar is a typical Italian dressing, usually produced in Emilia-Romagna. There are two main types of it. The standard balsamic vinegar, which is the more affordable and common one called "Traditional Balsamic Vinegar" (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale), and it is mainly produced in the areas around Modena and Reggio Emilia. While the most famous one (and the most expensive as well) is "Aceto Balsamico di Modena", which is an extraordinary product that has to be made in the province of Modena only, granted with IGP identification (one of the most prestigious certifications for Italian food).
Whatever type you will use, you will find out the balsamic vinegar is a wonderful dressing for salads, pasta, vegetables, meat, and even fruit or ice cream. It is a really versatile product, able to add a unique sweet-and-sour aroma to all kinds of food.
The balsamic vinegar of Modena is made of the must of different grapes, mainly Trebbiano, which is cooked in open-air boilers, until they reach a 30-50% concentration. Then, several processes (such as the settling, fermentation, bio-oxidation, and maturation of the cooked must) contribute to give the balsamic vinegar its unique scent and aroma. Finally, the flavor is further enhanced by a period of aging in dedicated cellars. Many of these processes occur in small wooden barrels, mainly made of oak, chestnut, mulberry, cherry, and juniper woods, all of them giving the vinegar their particular characteristics.
The end product is available after 12 years (or even after 25 in the case of the most prestigious ones) of ageing, so this is also the reason why the balsamic vinegar is so precious.
It is a dense, glossy and dark liquid, where the sweet and sour flavors are perfectly balanced. If you want to intensify its unique aroma, we suggest trying it on Parmesan, strawberries or boiled meat.
Here you have a recipe of a simple but delicious dish:
FILLET WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR OF MODENA (pic. n°4)
1 - Put 50 grams of butter in a frying pan
1 - Heat it over medium-high heat
3 - Add the Fillet previously floured. Salt and pepper.
4 - Add a cup of balsamic vinegar and cook all until the vinegar is reduced, paying attention not to overcook the meat.
5 - A couple of minutes before the fillet is ready, sprinkle it with a handful of chives.