Vinegar Balsamic of Modena
Balsamic vinegar is an aromatic, aged type of vinegar traditionally crafted in the Modena, and Reggio Emilia provinces of Italy from the concentrated juice, or must, of white grapes (typically of the Trebbiano variety). It is very dark brown in color and its flavor is rich, sweet, and complex, with the finest grades being the product of years of aging in a successive number of casks made of various types of wood (including oak, mulberry, chestnut, cherry, juniper, ash, and acacia). Originally an artisanal product available only to the Italian upper classes, a cheap knock-off of traditional balsamic vinegar became widely known and available around the world in the late twentieth century. True balsamic vinegar is aged for 12 to 25 years. One can sometimes find balsamic vinegars that have been aged for up to 100 years, though they are usually very expensive. The commercial balsamic sold in supermarkets is typically made with red wine vinegar or concentrated grape juice mixed with a strong vinegar, which is laced with caramel and sugar. Regardless of how it is produced, balsamic vinegar must be made from a grape product. Balsamic vinegar has a high acidity level but the tart flavor is usually hidden by the sweetness of the other ingredients, making it very mellow.