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Fabio Massimo Bonini tell us his story about Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

History to know

Perhaps not everyone knows that Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is a typical specialty of the Modena province. Think that its origins date back over a thousand years and connoisseurs have always appreciated the unique touch that adds to dishes, fresh fruit or ice cream. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is the result of the slow acetification of  native grapes. It should not be confused with the more common Balsamic Vinegar of Modena produced with a base of wine vinegar, to which is added grape must and sometimes caramel. We asked Fabio Massimo Bonini, a well-known Italian actor and voice actor, but in this case also a producer, to tell us his story. “It seems incredible but the unique nectar has its roots in Roman times, Virgil spoke of it in his Georgics and from the Middle Ages it was already considered a luxury.

Miraculous remedy

The term “balsamic” was introduced later, in the eighteenth century, when it was thought that this type of vinegar had special healing properties. People used it as a remedy for plague sores or to alleviate migraines. Lucrezia Borgia used it during labor and Gioacchino Rossini to cure his gout. My grandmother like others in the area sipped it after a meal, as some still do, to help the digestion. ”

Production steps.

The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is the sum of several factors. Certainly the specific environmental conditions of the province of Modena, the types of grapes grown, as well as the skill on cooking  the must used and the loving care are fundamental. Every year the vinegar is transferred from barrel to barrel with a method very similar to a Solera. After crushing the grapes and before the fermentation begins, the must is cooked in open tanks until it reaches a concentration of 30 to 50%. After a long decantation, the cooked must naturally begins to ferment and undergo acetic bioxidation by the work of the acetobacteria. This is followed by the maturation phase, vital for the formation of the unique fragrances of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Finally the aging phase arrives, during which the characteristics of the vinegar reach their true perfection. The three phases take place in a series of barrels of different woods (usually oak, chestnut, mulberry, cherry and juniper) and of decreasing dimensions, ranging from 75/100 liters to 10/15 liters of capacity.

A complex production that lasts 12 years

Each type of wood gives the Balsamic vinegar a specific characteristic: the chestnut rich in tannins darkens the color of the product, the mulberry flavors a more rapid concentration, the juniper gives a resinous and the cherry enhances the flavor, while the oak, wood more valuable for ripe vinegar, it gives it a distinctive vanilla fragrance. The difference in capacity between barrels is calculated to allow the annual transfer process. Producing Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is a clearly complex and above all a long operation: it takes at least 12 years – and the approval of master tasters – so that the vinegar qualifies for the “traditional” denomination.

PDO

When the product obtains the PDO (protected designation of origin) it means that it has been officially approved and that the consumer is certain to purchase the absolutely inimitable aromas, the tradition and the quality of a unique product worldwide. At MFM we met a very interesting niche production at “La Cascina di Balsamico Bonini“. Luca Ghiaroni, marketing manager, presented us with what they call “The Balsamic affair experience”:

The Balsamic affair experience

“We produce Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DOP and Condiments. It might seem simple, but these few words contain a universe of sensations, taste and aromas. A long journey of learning, of stories and traditions, of refining techniques and a single natural ingredient: the must of grapes: year after year, thanks to the hot summers and cold Modenese winters, our Condiment matures according to age-old rules, transforming into the unique and inimitable product that is the traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Think: at least 12 years must pass before the balsamic vinegar can be worthy, after the severe judgment of the master tasters, to be able to boast the name “Traditional“. Attention: it is not to be confused with the more common Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI, produced with a base of wine vinegar, to which must is added and sometimes also caramel. In addition to our DOP products we wanted to create an alternative line with a unique flavor and aroma but always using the ingredient and the traditions of the most famous twin. Starting from the same grape must, and only grape must, following the same method and using batteries with the same characteristics, we can offer the perfect alternative to those who simply want a different bottle, size or package and want to keep the opportunity to enrich their dishes without losing anything compare to our Traditional Balsamic Vinegar PDO.

 

 




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