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Making Balsamic Vinegar

By Kerry Hart January 08, 2018 0 comments

Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen interview with Giacomo Cinelli

"Years ago I used to buy so called balsamic vinegar from supermarkets to use on my salads without thinking much about it. My dad always used to say to me: “Stop buying that rubbish, you are just adding sugar to your diet!”.
If you buy cheap balsamic vinegar and read the ingredients on the label you will realize that what you are buying is ordinary wine vinegar with the addition of caramel (which is sugar).

So are industries ripping us off?! What’s balsamic vinegar then?

She interviewed an expert, Giacomo Cinelli, at the time the Export Director for Agricola Due Vittorie  from Modena where real balsamic vinegar is produced. His comments are just as relevant today as foodies discover the quality of Due Vittorie balsamics.

Here is Alida's interview with him.

1) Mr Cinelli how long has “Due Vittorie” been producing balsamic vinegar?

Due Vittorie actually only started to produce balsamic vinegar in the early 2000’s. However, Mr. Maletti, the owner, had previously worked in the production of Lambrusco wine – one of 7 vineyards accepted for production of Balsamic Vinegar (indeed, it is one of the best). From his Lambrusco experience, he saw the opportunity to produce a premium, dense balsamic vinegar. In just a few years this has become very successful both in Italy and abroad.

2) Can you please explain to us what is the main difference between ordinary wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar?

Wine vinegar is made from wine whilst balsamic vinegar contains grape must or aged pressed grapes, which is actually the most important ingredient to obtain a quality balsamic vinegar, giving the sweetness to the product balancing the acidity of the wine vinegar. Due Vittorie only uses cooked high quality grape must, which makes the product sweet and pleasant to taste, as well as very versatile in the kitchen.

3) Your vinegar is used by top chefs all over the world and it is number one in Italy, this is something to be really proud of. What do you think makes your product so good?

We’re very proud of our achievements. It’s the  unique taste of Due Vittorie Oro and the high quality of the product that makes our Balsamic really special. When tasting, there’s a real ‘wow’ factor and we’re delighted to have such a growing number of loyal fans.

4) What is the minimum resting time that the cooked must needs in order to obtain a good quality balsamic vinegar?

The IGP certification regulation requires that the product remains for a minimum of 2 months in wooden barrels. In case of an IGP, the quality of the ingredients are also very important and really make the difference in the products. Our Due Vittorie Oro is  unique compared to the competition. A very tasty, sweet, versatile product for any type of dish. If the consumer is searching a more niche and refined product, our Tradizionale Affinato is the perfect choice. This product is aged for a minimum of 12 years in small wooden barrels and it is made only of cooked must, providing a very dense and syrupy consistency, mostly suitable for hard cheeses and cakes or ice cream.

5) After buying the vinegar where is the best place to store it?

You should store your balsamic in a cool, dark place.

6) How long does balsamic vinegar last? Does it always maintain well its aroma?

There is no expiry for a good balsamic vinegar, it should  always keep its taste and aroma.

7) I have seen people adding a touch of balsamic vinegar to their water for a refreshing beverage, would you recommend that? Which types of meat better suit the addition of this vinegar?

If your palate likes fresh water with a hint of sweet balsamic vinegar, why not? I often add it to many dishes and will definitely try it with  water tonight. As concerns meat, it really suits any type of meat. I like to add it to chicken (sometimes instead of soya sauce) and to any red meat, including a beef steak or fillet.

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