Aceto Balsamico di Modena from Due Vittorie
Italians, like the French, seem to have an inate understanding of ‘terroir’ and the importance of the origin of certain products. While I’ve long been convinced by wine, meat and cheese, I can honestly say that until I was sent samples of particularly fine balsamic vinegar I might just have been a little dismissive about the idea a vinegar should be P.D.O. (protected designation of origin) or I.D.P. (protected geographical indication) Another of those nutty EU ideas…
I’ve changed – and it’s all thanks to two small bottle of a sticky, brown liquid sent to me from Due Vittorie.
In fact, reading through the leaflet which accompanied one of my samples a little insight into the way ‘proper’ balsamic vinegar is produced makes it is quite obvious that the end result will be something very special.
The must for Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is made from late harvested Trebbiano grapes from Modena. Once the grapes are harvested, they are crushed and left so that the grape juice to run off. Just before any fermentation starts, the juice is removed and simmered over a fire for 12 to 24 hours to reduce the must by about 50%. The resulting liquid is filtered and cooled before it is poured into wooden barrels. There is then an aging process – a minimum of 12 years for Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and 25 years for the Extra Vecchio – during which time the vinegar is transferred through a set of barrels made of different woods and of progressively smaller sizes.
What results is a sticky, rich, slightly sweet vinegar with a thick consistency. I have tasted this kind of Balsamic before, in some of the better Italian restaurants I’ve visited, but I have to admit I thought it was some kind of special reduction made by the chef, with ingredients added to give that depth of flavour and richness without an overwhelming vinegar taste.
Traditional or ‘Tradizionale’ Balsamic Vinegar is available from Due Vittorie at Ocado and costs £49.99 for a 100ml bottle.
The good news is that it is for the great quality of the more affordable ‘Balsamic Vinegar of Modena’ that Due Vittorie has become widely acclaimed in Italy. Due Vittorie Oro ‘Balsamic Vinegar of Modena’, the I.G.P. version, is made in much the same way but has slightly less regulation over production. It costs £9.99 for a 250ml bottle, which still sounds expensive, until you realise that this is a very concentrated liquid with a long shelf life. I suspect one bottle will last me for at least 6 months.
Unlike many of its competitors, Due Vittorie Oro Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is rich, thick and sweet. It’s a 100% natural product created with rich grape must and just a little wine vinegar. This creates a unique balance of sweet and sour flavours. It has a remarkable sweetness and thickness making it a unique condiment with an acidity of 6%.
Right now I’ve just been using a few drops of my Balsamic Vinegar of Modena with bread, parmesan and some rather good olive oil from Puglia. But, I will be experimenting with a few recipes to see how this magic liquid might transform my food from ‘home cooking’ to restaurant quality.
The good news is that if you’d like to try some for yourself, I have been offered a bottle to give away to one lucky London-Unattached reader. If you’d like the chance to win a bottle for yourself, just comment below and let me know how you’d like to try serving your Due Vittorie Oro Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Then just follow the rafflecopter through!
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