About Our Balsamic Vinegar - The Real Deal!
We offer Condimento Balsamico's and take great pride that they are alllergy friendly, gluten free, with no artificial flavorings, no added sugars, thickening agents, caramel, nor additives (may contain natural sulfites). Their acidity is typically 3-6%. Typically the darker the vinegar the sweeter it is. They are produced using the "Solera Method" originating in Modena, Italy.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar (TBV) is produced in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, is made from cooked Trebbiano grape must and is aged in a variety of wooden barrels. Depending on which wood the barrels are made from, the vinegar will take on those flavors. Yearly, the vinegar is bottled from the smallest barrel in the batch. Each cask is then topped up with vinegar from the next cask up, with the largest getting filled with the latest yield. The longer the vinegar ages, the thicker it gets and the more concentrated it becomes.
A panel of five judges rates the vinegar, giving it grades from fine (12-year vintage) to old (15-20 year vintage) or extra old (20-25 year vintage). The color of traditional balsamic vinegar ranges from a glossy yellow/brown to brown/black during aging with the texture of syrup. Its taste, typically slightly tart, is rich and sweet with hints of molasses, cherry, prune, fig and chocolate.
Condimento Balsamico (CB) is made with the same grape must and in the same kind of barrels as is TBV. It isn't in the same classification because it either didn't meet the time standard for maturity or because it wasn't supervised for time, therefore CB may be younger or older depending on who is producing it. Because it does not go through the same rigorous scrutiny as TBV, it is generally less expensive. CB is usually thicker, and its color is deeper and flavor richer the older it is. CB is considered to be a fine balsamic and is often preferred over TBV.
While there are numerous “balsamic" vinegars available, not all are the real deal. They are vastly different than what we offer! In fact, many other specialty stores offer balsamic that consists simply of white wine or cider vinegar, sweetener, caramel and food coloring. Most of those balsamics are mass produced for chain-style stores and they attempt to mimic the taste of our balsamics but are often much thinner, more tart and less expensive. For our balsamics, tasting is believing!