Sua Maesta balsamic vinegar of Modena is a characteristic product that can only and exclusively be obtained from the must of Lambrusco, Sangioese, Trebbiane, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana, and Montuni Grapes. Further the production of Modena’s balsamic vinegar can solely be undertaken in the administrative provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The balsamic vinegar of Modena is the result of a story of the honoured beauty. A masterpiece of flavour: a few drops of it are enough to achieve culinary excellence.
Rumour has it that Modena Balsamic Vinegar came into being by chance, perhaps from a banal mistake. Some of the SABA (cooked grape must) was forgotten in a container and, upon discovery, found pleasantly bitter-sweet, the result of a natural process of acidification.
None of the stories about the origins if the balsamic vinegar are however, certain. The first bits of evidence regard signs of production in the properties of the Este Family, the rulers of Modena.
A number of sixteenth-century manuscripts speaks of harvesting very ripe grape must. Which was then used to produce balsamic vinegar by making use of trunks stored on the top floors of the dukes palace in Modena. The oldest stories mentioning Balsamic Vinegar that dates back to as far as Matilde Di Canossa (D.1115) who used to offer Balsamic Vinegar as a gift to Popes and Emperors. Indeed, the first record dates back to the 1046, a mention in the chronicles by the Benedictine Monk Doninzone, biograpgher of Matilde Di Canossa. The Monk tells that in that year King Henry II, the future Emperor of Italy, received from Marquis Bonifacio Di Canossa, Matildesn Father, A bottle of precious Vinegar.
The balsamic vinegar was also thought to have healing qualities. Some manuscripts mention that at the beginning of the sixteenth century, at the court of the Duke of Modena, Lucrezia Borgia, spouse to Alfonso I Este, then Duke of Ferrara and Modena, employed it for cosmetic use as well as to sedate birth pains. The treaty Del Governo della Peste e delle Maniere di Guardarsene (eng: of the government of plague and hw to stay away from it) by Ludovico Antonio Muratori lists many medications based on Balsamic Vinegar that helps to cure horrible diseases, he states that balsamic vinegar could be warding the disease away just but gargles and ablutions or by pouring a few drops on the hot coals of the fireplace to purify the polluted air. Rumour has it that the duke of Modena Francesco IV (1779-1846) always travelled with a small bottle full with the precious liquid, which h
e used to relieve sinus infections and nasal congestions as well as a comfort for his weak health.
The association of the term Balsamic with vinegar is relatively new. The first time the pairing appear was in 1747, in conjunction with praises for its therapeutically and medical properties. In 1796, after the French revolution, among the possessions of the Duke and the church that were sold to pay for the war debts we also find the sale of acetatia on the top floors of the Dukes palace in Modena. Half a century later, in 1859, Camilo Benso Di Cavour, first minister of King Vittorio Emanuele II, ordered a transfer of the best barrels to the moncaleri castle, where unfortunately the lack of knowledge about the vinegar led to the dispersion of immense patrimony. In 1862, the lawyer Emiliano Fransco Agazzotti mentioned in two of his letters respectively to Pio abriani Di Spilamberto and to Ottavio Ottavi Di Moncalieri, precise instructions about the making of the balsamic vinegar by using, as a base, uniquely cooked grape must instead of generic vinegar. This is still the method we employ to prepare the traditional balsamic vinegar.
The memory and the spoken word of those who preserved the knowledge of this tradition of the authentic process of Artianal production of the Balsamic vinegar, a tradition that even today is being kept and preserved by the consorteria dell Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale in Spilamberto. This dressing suits ice-creams, soberts, and fruit salads. We recommend you to pour it over Parmigiano Reggiano and other types of cheese, such as Pecorino. It’s delicious even in combination with ham in risottos as well as other types of fresh pasta, such as ravioli. It’s ideal use is however on meat, vegetables aand strawberries, as well as other fruits that are low in sugar.
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