Genuine Balsamic Vinegar is one of the best Italian specialties worldwide and sets unique quality standards in the kitchen. In our online shop there are high quality balsamic vinegars - Traditional DOP and IGP from Modena - as well as quality balsamic creams.
What is actually "balsamic"?
The term "balsamic vinegar" is understood to mean vinegar obtained from boiled grape must, which undergoes a long maturing process. This is called "Balsamico Tradizionale DOP". If wine vinegar is added to boiled grape must, it is "Balsamic IGP". Both vinegars are specialties from the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, whose origin is defined either by the protected designation of origin (g.U., Italian DOP) or by the protected geographical indication (g.g.A., Italian IGP).
How to recognize real Aceto Balsamico
True Aceto Balsamico therefore always carries a protected designation of origin - either IGP or DOP -, depending on its origin, with the addition of "di Modena" or "di Reggio Emilia". Only for products with IGP or DOP seal, you have the guarantee that it is real balsamic. This does not mean, of course, that the balsamic vinegar would not have certain typical features that make it an appreciated (and often copied) Italian specialty all over the world.
☝ The characteristics of the real balsamic vinegar:
- Color and consistency → recognizable by eye
- Fragrance → perceptible by the sense of smell
- Taste → detectable during tasting
Color and consistency
Typical of real Aceto Balsamico is its bright, rich dark brown color. If you stir balsamic vinegar in a glass for a few seconds and then pause, you will notice that the liquid will slowly slide down the glass wall. This is an indication of their density and viscosity: the larger they are, the more resistance the liquid makes to the rotational movement of the glass.
A true balsamic vinegar - with the designation of origin DOP or IGP - can never be white or bright.
Conversely, a dark brown balsamic vinegar is quite likely to lack the IGP / DOP seal and the suffix "di Modena" or "di Reggio Emilia".
True Aceto Balsamico, on the other hand, must necessarily carry one of these two seals. In addition, "Balsamico Tradizionale DOP" must not contain any additives, while products with IGP seal the addition of dyes (especially E150, so caramel) is allowed to some extent.
The scent of balsamic vinegar is usually described by the words "smell of cooked", which is due to the long maturation of the cooked must in wooden barrels. Add to that a fruity note, which you absorb with the sense of smell. In order to perceive the scent of balsamic, one should swing the vinegar in a goblet, so that the different aroma components can evaporate more easily, while keeping the nose over the edge of the glass.