I Solai

I Solai

I Solai is one of the most renowned Italian manufacturers of balsamic vinegar - of course we mean the famous Aceto Balsamico di Modena.

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The I Solai company was founded by the Cozzola and Fiorini families in Ganaceto. The addition "di San Giorgio" refers to the local saint of the small town, which is only a few kilometers away from Modena, the "capital" of balsamic vinegar. The grapes used to make the high quality I Solai products also come from the Fiorini vineyards:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dressing (condimento)
  • Wine vinegar
  • Various balsamic creams

By the way, the company name means "The attics": a reference to the place where high-quality Aceto Balsamico was originally produced (the Acetaia) and, ideally, is still produced today and matures naturally in wooden barrels: namely in the attics of the houses, in to whom the balsamic vinegar lived or lives.

Thanks to the high air circulation and above all due to the significant temperature differences between day and night, but also in the course of the seasons, attics offer optimal conditions for the production of high-quality balsamic vinegar.

Balsamico from the vinegar manufacturer "I Solai" from Modena

I Solai is undoubtedly one of those producers of balsamic vinegar who have adopted the guidelines for the traditional production of the famous “black gold from Modena” the most. The products of this vinegar manufacturer are characterized above all by an above-average high content of viscous, cooked grape must. The grapes for the balsamic vinegar and the other products from I Solai come 100% from the Fiorini vineyards around Modena, one of the two founding families of I Solai. Of course, only the best grapes are used for the balsamic products. Incidentally, neither sugar nor caramel is added to the latter, although this coloring (with the exception of Aceto di Modena Tradizionale DOP) is entirely permissible up to a content of 2%.

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP

Aceto balsamic vinegar from Modena is available in two qualities: DOP and IGP. Balsamic vinegars of both categories each have their own seal. To get this, balsamic vinegars must meet a number of strict criteria, compliance with which is regularly checked by a panel of specialist tasters.

The Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena by I Solai is made exclusively from grape must from the Trebbiano di Spagna and Lambrusco Salamino di Santacroce grapes. This must is first slowly cooked at a low temperature, with a large part of the liquid already evaporating. Then the must, which has been thickened in this way, is filled into wooden barrels of various sizes, in which it fermentes naturally and turns into vinegar.
Since the barrels are permeable to air and are never completely filled, the vinegar maturing in them experiences an additional concentration due to the slow evaporation that is possible in this way. Incidentally, these are barrels made from different types of tree (which in turn are precisely defined and - like the grapes - must come from the region), which give the vinegar its characteristic flavors.
All in all, the balsamic vinegar has to linger in the barrel for 12 years before it can be bottled as the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP on the obligatory, small 100 ml bottles - for the "Extravecchio", 25 years are prescribed.
Carefully selected ingredients and the slow, traditional manufacturing process give this balsamic vinegar balance, variety of flavors and its fresh, slightly spicy taste.

Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP

The Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP is produced in a very similar way to the Tradizionale with DOP seal: Here too, I Solai takes extreme care in the selection of ingredients and during production.

Unlike the Balsamico Tradizionale, the must for this balsamic vinegar is not only obtained from two, but from seven different grape varieties, namely Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancelotta, Fontana and Montuni. Each of them contributes their characteristic aromas to the overall taste.

Another difference to the Balsamico Tradizionale is that you add matured wine vinegar to the fermented must (at least 10 years). This addition of about 10% of the total volume ensures an ideal balance between sweet and tart flavors in the finished balsamic vinegar. Before bottling, the Balsamic Vinegar IGP is aged for at least 12 years in oak barrels, which gives it further, distinctive flavors. Just like the Balsamico Tradizionale DOP, neither sugar nor caramel is added to the Balsamico IGP.

Balsamic Dressing

For their dressings, the vinegar manufactory I Solai adds Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP to the cooked must of selected grapes: The result is an extremely mild, fruit-emphasized vinaigrette: Since their acidity is below 6%, the condimenti (Italian for "seasonings" or "Salad dressing") from I Solai cannot be declared as "Aceto Balsamico di Modena". Their creamy consistency and balanced taste, in which sweet and sour flavors combine to create perfect harmony, make them the ideal seasoning for salads, (marinated) meat and cheese. By the way: I Solai's Condimenti also contain no caramel!

Balsamic Creams

In addition to dressings, I Solai offers another balsamic-based product: balsamic cream. A wide range of this versatile seasoning with and without additional flavors can also be found here in our online shop.

The basic ingredients of all creams are always Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP and boiled grape must; both of course from our own production. The high content of grape must ensures a particularly concentrated, dense consistency of the creams, which is further increased by the added natural corn starch.

The creams are therefore also ideal for decorating dishes: For example, a few strips of balsamic cream on a carpaccio make the popular starter a real eye-catcher.

There are hardly any limits to the use in the kitchen: whether pure or extended with aceto balsamic vinegar or wine vinegar, the gourmet creams from I Solai are ideal for dressings, sauces, soups and marinades. Desserts such as sorbet lend e.g. the chilli or the forest berry gourmet cream has a very special, refined note.

Important to know: All balsamic creams from I Solai contain no sugar, coloring or preservatives and therefore no caramel.

Furthermore, only natural flavors and essences are used for the flavored creams.

For its gourmet cocoa balsamic vinegar, for example, I Solai uses high-quality cocoa mass and natural cocoa extract; the gourmet truffle cream uses only a natural truffle aroma.

Red and white wine vinegar

The production of Aceto Balsamico is clearly at the center of attention at I Solai, but the long-established family business also produces high-quality classic wine vinegars from red and white wines from the region. Acetic acid bacteria are added to the base wine, which convert the alcohol contained in the wine into vinegar.

As with any vinegar, an alcoholic liquid is the starting product, but the finished vinegar does not contain any alcohol after the vinegar has finished. At most, this may still have minimal traces of alcohol, but the total alcohol content is in any case less than 1% and therefore has no effect. For comparison: A ripe banana or ripe fruit also contains up to 1 volume percent alcohol, sauerkraut up to ½ volume%.

Wine vinegar is therefore also suitable for children and pregnant women, as well as being “halal”, so it can also be consumed by devout Muslims without hesitation.

I Solai wine vinegars are made from the wine of a single grape variety, the aroma of which is reflected in the finished vinegar. The white Chardonnay vinegar is characterized by aromas of tropical fruits and ripe pears. Exactly the right partner if you need a light salad dressing or marinade, which is also characterized by a mild, fruity taste.

In contrast, notes of ripe forest berries and spices predominate in the deep red Lambrusco vinegar, making it ideal for dark, very spicy dressings and marinades. Incidentally, all wine vinegars from I Solai mature in old, used wooden barrels: they owe their rather mild character to this additional expansion.