THE CONDIMENTS

WHAT THE CONDIMENTS AND THE BALSAMIC VINEGAR ARE?

Denominations, laws, rules

First of all we have to say that for Italian law,  ALL BALSAMIC VINEGAR ARE NOT VINEGAR, THEY ARE SEASONINGS/CONDIMENTS.
In Italy the word VINEGAR is allowed only for the condiments that have obtained the protected designation (PDO or PGI).Other countries, in Europe too, allow the usage of the term  “Balsamic vinegar”.
Here there are two references of Italian legislation put classify the balsamic as seasonings.
1) Law April 3rd 1986, n.93: “the Traditional balsamic vinegar of Reggio Emilia or Modena is a CONDIMENT ….”
2) Law February, 20th 2006 n. 82 says:
a) “ the denomination “vinegar of…..  ” is classified to product obtained only  “…. from agricultural liquid”. The must is used after being cooked and for this reason is not considered an agricultural product.
b) it is prohibited to produce vinegar obtained mixing more raw materials (therefore the Balsamic vinegar of Modena is not a vinegar. (see below)
The denomination commonly found on the market  are:
Traditional balsamic vinegar of Reggio Emilia/Modena  P.D.O. (Protected designation of origin)
Balsamic vinegar of Modena PGI (Protected geographic indication), the most widely distributed
Seasoning/Condiment
Creams or Dressing

ACETO BALSAMICO TRADIZIONALE DI REGGIO EMILIA PDO – Protected Designation of Origin

Raw material: 100% cooked grape must (must=grape juice) from Reggio Emilia area (or Modena)
Production area: processing, ageing and bottling has to take place in Reggio Emilia province (or Modena)
Production process: process lasts at least 12 years in barrels (batteria). In natural room, hot in the summer, cold in the winter.The typicalness is the ageing in batterie, set of barrels (5-6) of different woods and different sizes.
The product that has been aged for 25 years is named EXTRAVECCHIO
PDO certification: each lot of product is checked and needs to comply the chemical and sensorial analysis. The controls are guaranteed by the Ministry of Agriculture through the only body autorized Suolo & Salute.
Bottling: in glass bottle with the shape of an upside down tulip shape of 100 and/or 250 ml.
Labelling: Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Reggio Emilia PDO

The Cavalli Condiment

Raw material: 100% Italian cooked must coming from Trebbano grape. To respect of tradition we don’t use wine vinegar and caramel.
Processing method: Cavalli follows a method handed down for years. Fermented product is gradually added in the wooden barrels where a constant and slow acetification takes place. We can calculate that the acetification process inside one barrel, is completed in 5-6 months roughly. The product is than moved and left for a long time to refine and age in barrel of different sizes and woods. All process take place in conditioned rooms.
Bottling: from 100 to 500 ml, depending on the product.
Labeling: depending on the processing time and ageing, we get Soft & Fruity Morbido & Fruttato, condiment with minor acidity for who loves a delicate product; Cavalli Classicowhich enphasizes the familiar process; Riserva Nando a further aged product.

Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena PDO

The disciplinary is similar to the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia, with minor and secondary differences. The production zone is the present province of Modena. The shape of bottles is like a balloon with square base, volume can be 100-200 e 400 ml.

BALSAMIC VINEGAR OF MODENA PGI – Protected Geographic Indication

Raw materials: no obligation related to origin area. They are wine  vinegar (until 80), cooked or concentrated must (at least 20%), caramel is allowed as colouring (until 2%).
Production method: ingredients blended and stored at least two months in wooden containers. This phase is the only part of the process that has to take place in Reggio Emilia and Modena area. Alcohol presence until 1,5% is allowed.Not top up and decanting: typical procedure of the more valuable “Tradizionale”.
Bottling
: can be done everywhere. Minimun bottle capacity 250 ml. Single dose pack also allowed.
Labelling
: the denomination is Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI Aceto balsamico di Modena IGP. The wordinginvecchiato identify the product aged for at least 3 years.

Information for the consumer: the balsamic vinegar of Modena is by definition a “cut”, a blend of individual ingredients that can vary from 10 to 90% with very different results. The wine vinegar must always be present. The ingredients are declared in descending order:one can immediately verify which ingredient is present in greater quantity. Generally the higher the content of cooked must, the greater is the quality (and the cost) of the product.

WARNING: do not confuse balsamic vinegar of Modena PGI with the TRADIZIONALE. They are similar in the name, but totally different characteristics: as per ingredients, production process and  for chemical/ physical and sensorial characteristics.
Cavalli
 company, in respect of tradition, uses only cooked must therefore DOES NOT PRODUCE Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.

Creams / Dressing / Glasse

Recently brought on the market. Generally prepared with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena with addition of flour, starch, gum or thickening. The product becomes more viscous almost a paste and it is used for decorative purpose in dishes.