Friday, October 11, 2019

Modena Balsamic Vinegars

When you travel to other countries you have the opportunity to be introduced to new foods, music, history, and culture. In Venice, for example, we were served some fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The vinegar was Aceto Balsamico of Modena, and it was THICK and VERY TASTY. The flavors seemed to be shouting from the roof tops, as if welcoming us into heaven and bypassing the pearly gates. This was an unexpected and invigorating surprise.


When I returned to the states I tried to locate this same balsamic vinegar.  I not only wanted to recreate that experience of wonder, but wanted to incorporate this flavor in my cuisine. After all, in Chinese Medicine, sour flavors are used to support health and wellness by strengthening a person's gut health. A good gut helps build your immunity to help you fight disease. It also helps you to lose weight. Sour foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and natural vinegars, are a part of the tool kit used for good health. 

In my research I did learn that Modena balsamic vinegar is the BEST balsamic vinegar. I also learned that true traditional balsamic vinegar has only one ingredient: cooked grapes (or mosto d'uva cotto), so if you see caramel in the ingredients, it means it is of lesser quality and may not give you the flavors or the same health benefits.

According to an article in the Huffington Post, true traditional balsamic vinegar must be aged a minimum of 12 years in a variety of wood casks. The initials D.O.P. stands for a protected area of origin. D.O.P. vinegars are certified. I.G.P. is also a protected geographical indicator but is aged for less time - a minimum of 6 years.

I only sampled one balsamic vinegar on my trip to Italy, so I was interested in other brands that perhaps could be available in my neighborhood. According to an article in the Washington Post, there is a Balsamic Vinegar Tasting group and they recommended these balsamic vinegars: 
1. COMPAGNIA DEL MONTALE ACETO BALSAMICO DI MODENA, $30/250 ML.
2. CAVALLI CONDIMENTO BALSAMICO, $15-$17/250 ML.
3. CIBO DI LIDIA ACETO BALSAMICO DI MODENA, $20/250 ML.

Some of these vinegars are available online, including Amazon, so I will soon be adding balsamic vinegar in my pantry and into my health maintenance regime.