balsamic vinegar

The traditional balsamic vinegar from Leonardi.

On the borders of the river Secchia, that devids the province Modena from the region of Emilia, the tradition of the typical balsamic, cooked grapes and balsamic dressings are well known world wide.

Made in Modena, in the village Margreta di Formigine, in the 19th century, the Leonardi family started making balsamic vinegar that is made from cooked grape must on open low fire. In this more then 100 year old factory, a very special and high quality product was born. The family made this with taking care of all the rules regarding the tradition and all the secrets they still gard for the next generations. De storages have a good circulation of fresh air, the temperature will be always checked and the barrels are in rows of 9, 12, 15. The barrels are made from different kinds of wood. High quality, oak, cherry, ahs, etc. These barrels gives the special taste of the balsamic vinegars. The Leonardi family, have cultivated “the farm”Campi Macri, they have chosen the grapes for the grape must. That grape must is made from the Trebbiano grape. The family also protected the way of cooking the grapes, that means, that the cooking process was slowly.

Also the process of changing the barrels, putting into smaller barrels, in the months January and February, is for the family a very precise job. When it is not done right, the vaporising will be to much. The best balsamic vinegars are the result of a long process.

The colour of the balsamic vinegar is dark brown, it has a good structure and it has a nice, strong, but obviously tasteful taste with velvet shades. The factory is called the Acetaia and has different rooms where the barrels are in and where the fermentation, the aging of the balsamic vinegars are taking place. The Accetaia makes the following products: tradition balsamic of Modena or balsamic made as a dressing.

The history of balsamic vinegar

The first contact with balsamic and the cooked grape must, are from before Christ in Egypt and in the Orient. Later the people from Greece and the Romans used the balsamic for dressing and to keep the food fresh. They added water to the balsamic vinegar for special drinks or they cooked it very long so the could use it as a sweetener with honey.
In the Middle Ages the balsamic vinegar was produced in Canossa, under the name Laudatum acetum and it was given as a gift by Marquis Bonifacio to Emperor Enrico III, when he was traveling from Reggio Emilia to Rome in the 11th century.

During the Renaissance the black vinegar was called Saba.
From the 16th century, when the court of Estensi moved to Modena the first proves of the balsamic vinegar were shown. The documents described the must of Trebbiano in the old barrels, where normally the wine vinegar was stored and aged for many years in the attic.

Old sayings of the tradition of Modena

…. Balsamic has to melt and tasted and seen, all the other is a question of tradition, personal experience and personal taste……
…. A dish without balsamic vinegar is like a day without sum…..
…. A spoon of balsamic vinegar for a sore throat….
…. Apples with balsamic vinegar in a glass of water to make your hair softer….
…. A teaspoon balsamic vinegar for your appetite….
…. After dinner a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for digestion….
…. To avoid mosquito’s ….
…. Balsamic vinegar disinfect……
…. A glass water with a teaspoon balsamic vinegar when you are very thirsty….
…. Balsamic vinegar keeps the vegetables fresh in wintertime….
…. Balsamic vinegar even was used as a medication for back pain and pain in the bones….

The use of balsamic vinegar in the Kitchen:

Balsamic is a well known and very precious product and good for use in the kitchen. The production e the high quality of balsamic vinegar takes a lot of patience and a lot of time. You must use it carefully, because of the strong taste. According to fundamental rules, which are the result of old tradition, balsamic vinegar has to used at the end of preparing the meal. A teaspoon per person.

Balsamic vinegar is used often in the kitchen, that’s why it is important to choose a good one for every dish, a young one for the raw vegetables, a medium one for the hors d’oeuvre, backed or grilled meat or fish and for strawberries.