With much deceptive labeling and marketing of “traditional” balsamic vinegar of Modena, it is useful to spend a few minutes to watch this highly relevant video which describes the process of making this great authentic Italian vinegar. While you may know the basic process of creating the wine must and the the barrel aging process of the vinegar, this video explains how the Italian consortium insists on standardized bottles for aged balsamic vinegar that carries the DOP certification required for all “traditional” balsamic vinegars from Modena.
Given its popularity, it is not surprising that a number of unscrupulous producers and distributors have resorted to deceptive advertising practices to promote their products. In fact, most supermarkets and grocery stores contain a number of balsamic vinegar varieties that have little in common with the “real thing” that is harvested, aged and bottled in Modena, Italy. As such, informed consumers that demand quality are checking labels at least twice to determine if the proper seals and labeling are present before they purchase the vinegar.
Like good quality wine, you generally get what you pay for – Balsamic vinegar is no exception. Vinaigrettes and reductions contain additives to create taste profiles that mimic authentic balsamic vinegars, but are far less expensive to produce. While some of these variations are flavorful and palatable, most do not live up to the hype. In fact, many variants are watery and you end up using twice as much to create the agro dolce effect of real balsamic vinegar.
This month, Gourmet Living will be introducing its only private labeled brands of balsamic vinegar which bear the approved designations of the consortium. The first is an IGP labeled vinegar which contains wine vinegar which is added to the wine must to produce an “affordable” balsamic vinegar which carries the approval of the Italian consortium. See Gourmet Living’s IGP certified balsamic vinegar which will be available for sale by the end of April. The 250 ml bottle of vinegar will retail for $34.95, but check back soon for special promotional pricing while it launches.
For those looking for traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, we will be introducing a very limited supply of DOP certified vinegar which is 12 year’s old and is 100% wine must. This will be sold in the Consortium approved 100 ml bottle and is expected to retail for under $85. Based on market reception for this more expensive traditional vinegar, we hopefully make more available in the near future.
Balsamic vinegar adds a dramatic flavor profile to most dishes. We hope that educated consumers will insist on authentic vinegars produced by family owned growers and producers in Modena.