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Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena or Emilia Romagna is much better than the Balsamic Vinegar sold in most shops in the US and other countries.

Traditional Balsamic is aged in barrels for as many as 75 years. The barrels are passed down within a family for generations. The vinegar itself has a complexity and depth of flavor that is unmatched by commercial balsamics.  It's texture is smooth and almost honey-like and it's flavor is less acidic and more sweet than commercial balsamic. A few drops go a long way and make a wonderful addition to sauces, cheeses and salads, and even meats! The best balsamics are so sweet and rich that they are best on fresh strawberries or ice cream.

Both Modena and Emilia Romagna have consortiums that certify the quality and production of the balsamic you are buying and stamp it a grade. There are 4 grades of balsamic:

All traditional balsamic is bottled by the consortium in the same kind of bottle; producers only get to add a "hang tag" to distinguish their bottle from others. If you're in the area, balsamic tasting is a great experience. There are tours available from Rome, Bologna, Modena, etc.

Prices for Traditional Balsamic Vinegar are often lower in Italy, but check some web sites before you go as exchange rates fluctuate and you will want to make sure that you are getting a good value.

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