The smooth, balanced flavor of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Have you ever wondered why Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is considered the “black gold” of Italian cuisine? Perhaps because every drop brings an extra-delicious touch to any dish.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is one of the most prestigious products in the Italian culinary tradition. It is also well-known and enjoyed abroad and is exported all over the world. Many have attempted to imitate this much-loved condiment, but the authentic recipe remains a well-kept secret...

From the Ancient Romans to the Renaissance: discovering the origins of Balsamic Vinegar

The earliest references to Balsamic Vinegar of Modena date back to ancient times.

The Romans used cooked grape must, which they called sapum, as a condiment and sweetener, as well as for medicinal purposes. In his work De Re Rustica, the Roman writer and agronomist Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella describes the distinctive reaction of the grape musts of the Emilia area, which continued to ferment and acidify even after it was cooked.

Over the centuries, the noble qualities of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena became so well-known that it was sought after and enjoyed by the most important figures in Medieval history: in 1046, for example, when Henry III of Franconia came to Italy to be crowned the new Holy Roman Emperor, he sent gifts to Boniface of Canossa (father of the better-known Matilda) to receive a small bottle of the precious vinegar in exchange.

It was not until the Renaissance, however, that this precious “black gold” gained widespread renown, and in notarial deeds and wedding lists of the time we find frequent references to “bottles of vinegar”, an indication that it had become something so valuable that it was passed on as a legacy or included in a dowry.

At the time of the House of Este, the techniques for ripening sugary grapes had evolved significantly, and Modena vinegar became increasingly well-known and widely used; by the mid-18th century, the name had begun to be accompanied by the term balsamic.

From the moment onwards, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena has earned increasing recognition, becoming the “black gold” of the gourmet world we are all familiar with today.

Why is it called "balsamic"?

Part history and part legend, tradition tells us that the adjective “balsamic” accompanying the vinegar is a reference to the curative properties that were once attributed to it. In the past, this vinegar was used more for medicinal purposes than as an actual condiment: it was recommended to relieve sore throats, respiratory disorders and stomach trouble.

Are these just superstitions typical of distant times in which science was in its early days, or is there a measure of truth in them? The latter seems the more probable of the two, because – as modern laboratory analyses demonstrate – vinegar is particularly rich in antioxidants, which can help fortify the immune system, reduce blood pressure and aid digestion. In addition, it also has significant disinfectant properties.

Tradition tells us that centuries ago, vinegar was seen as a remedy to cure numerous physical ailments. This is the origin of the adjective likening it to a balsam.

The art of patience. How Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is made

With a bright, glossy dark brown color and a unique sweet and sour flavor, it has won over diners all across the globe. In 2009, when it obtained the PGI quality label, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena officially became an outstanding food and wine product.

There’s an elusive, digital, technological time that passes in a flash, and there’s another time with a different pace, in which patience and dedication are the essential ingredients to create an unmistakable, unique product: Balsamic Vinegar. Its sensory characteristics and distinctive flavor are the fruit of a long, slow process that involves adding a measure of simple vinegar and another of vinegar aged for at least ten years to the cooked grape must. This distillate is then transferred into wooden barrels, where it is left for two months. At the end of this period, all the production phases are verified by experts from the certification body before the precious liquid can be defined as genuine Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI.

Patience is an art, and this is confirmed by the production of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, which takes care, passion, and a willingness to wait: from the pressing of the grapes – which come from seven varieties grown in the provinces of Modena e Reggio Emilia – to the production of the must and its partial fermentation, cooking or concentration.

100% natural, 46% cooked must, aged for 12 months: this is what makes Fratelli Carli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI so unique

To give the must its characteristically intense blend of aromas, the grapes selected for pressing are chosen with care. This is the first step towards the production of Fratelli Carli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI, involving a painstaking, rigorous procedure based on the "100% natural" principle.

During the must cooking process, part of the sugars caramelize naturally, giving the vinegar its typical stewed fruit aroma. As per the production regulations, the percentage of cooked grape must cannot be lower than 20%: what makes Fratelli Carli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI so unique is that it has more than double the minimum established by law: over 46%.

This is what gives our Balsamic Vinegar such a distinctively pleasant, rounded flavor, with a lingering fruitiness and sweetness sure to win over even the most discerning palate.

The sweet woody and vanilla notes, glossy color and balanced flavor are guaranteed by the lengthy period of aging in wood barrels, and the entirely natural procedure, which does not contemplate the addition of caramel colorant E150d.

Fratelli Carli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is aged in fine wooden barrels and barriques for 12 months, while the regulations establish a minimum of two.

Three tasty suggestions to use Fratelli Carli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI

Balsamic Vinegar is a superb ally in the kitchen to add a new dash of taste to your dishes and experiment with some novel flavors. Fratelli Carli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is guaranteed 100% natural and ideal for bringing an original touch to all your recipes.

Get inspired:

Get inspired:

  • as an accompaniment to meat: as obvious as it might seem, it has to be tasted to be believed. Fratelli Carli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is the perfect complement to red meat. Add it to the cooking juices when ready;
  • to enhance radicchio: it’s the secret ingredient to prepare a true gourmet Radicchio with vinegar sauce reduction. Add it to the pan while you’re simmering the shallot;
  • to enrich the Grilled mackerel with vegetables . Do your guests deserve a touch of fragrant sweetness? While you’re preparing the vegetables, flavor the Tropea onion with a drizzle of Fratelli Carli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI.