Balsamico is becoming increasingly popular in Germany. The increasing demand also leads to a large number of different products, which should correspond to the original from Italy. However, it also leads to a multitude of terms, which cause confusion for many. Basically, balsamic vinegar is a fermentation vinegar produced from grapes. In the production of balsamic vinegar, the sugar of the cooked grape must is converted into alcohol. Vinegar bacteria then convert the alcohol into acetic acid. Balsamico can be classified into three categories:
To clear up the confusion of terms, we explain step by step the different categories starting with Aceto Balsamico.
Aceto Balsamico is a dark grape vinegar that matures in wooden barrels and is divided into two classes - namely Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale and Aceto Balsamico di Modena.
There are major differences between the two varieties/classes of Aceto. The decisive factors are the ingredients and the maturing time, but also the use in the kitchen. Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale may only consist of 100% grape must, whereas Aceto Balsamico di Modena may also contain wine vinegar and other ingredients such as caramelised sugar or flavourings and preservatives.
Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale has 3 maturation periods; 12, 25 and 50 years. In our shop we offer 2 maturation periods of the Tradizionale. One is the 12 year old - Aceto Balsamico di Modena, Tradizionale, DOP, 12 years, 100ml and the other is the 25 year old - Aceto Balsamico di Modena, Tradizionale, DOP, 25 years, 100ml.
On the other hand, the maturation period for Aceto Balsamico di Modena is much shorter and can be only a few months.
The classes of Aceto also differ in their use in the kitchen. The Tradizionale is mainly used raw. For example, to make meat, fish, matured hard cheese, raw or cooked vegetables, carpaccio, fruit and desserts tasty. The simple Balsamico di Modena is used raw and for cooking. Examples of its use in cooking are sauces, stews and for steaming pasta and vegetables.
Within the class of Aceto Balsamico di Modena I.G.P there can be large price differences due to clear differences in quality. Not every producer uses caramelised sugar and flavourings for their Aceto Balsamico di Modena! Many producers even use up to 80% grape must for their balsamic vinegars and otherwise only very good wine vinegar. The result is excellent quality at an affordable price. In our online shop you can find inexpensive and at the same time high-quality Aceto Balsamico di Modena I.G.P.. The higher the viscosity and the longer the maturing time, the better the quality.
There are also large price differences within the class of Aceto Balsamico di Modena. There are also clear quality products in this category. The following aspects are decisive:
The density describes the viscosity of balsamic vinegar. The higher the density in g/ml, the more viscous the vinegar. As a rule of thumb, the more syrupy the balsamic vinegar flows, the higher the quality of the product (there are, of course, exceptions). When buying vinegar, it is important to make sure that it does not contain any additives that affect the flow properties (e.g. sugar syrup, glucose, corn starch or other thickening agents). Thus, the second rule of thumb is: If the producer of Aceto Balsamico di Modena does not use caramelised sugar, sugar syrup, glucose, corn starch and flavourings, the Aceto is of higher quality. The proportion of grape must is also important. If it is higher than 80%, this indicates a better quality. At the same time, the quality of the wine vinegar is decisive.
In summary, it can be said that Aceto Balsamico di Modena is also of excellent quality. This can also be found at an affordable price. In our Protos Mediterranean Specialities shop you will find Aceto Balsamico di Modena with different densities from 1.12 to 1.34 and more.
The 2 categories Balsamico and Condimento are clearly different from the Aceto Balsamico category. Here there are no clear specifications regarding ingredients, origin, maturing time etc.. However, there are enormous differences in quality here too.
The term "condimento" comes from the Italian and means seasoning in German - it is defined as follows: substances or preparations used in cooking to flavour food, which may be of vegetable origin (herbs, spices, etc.), animal (meat stock, butter) or mineral (salt), sauces of various kinds. In principle, there are also very high-quality condimenti. In our assortment, for example, you will find various "condimenti" once on an olive oil basis (seasoning oil) - with chilli, garlic or turmeric - and on a wine vinegar basis (grape vinegar) with pomegranate, sea buckthorn and chokeberry. Light balsamic vinegar also falls under the category of condimento. Since there are no specifications for light or white balsamic vinegars. Therefore, they cannot be called Aceto Balsamico di Modena and have to use the term Condimento.
The difference between them lies not only in their colour and taste, but also in the way they are produced. While Aceto Balsamico is matured in wooden barrels and thus acquires a dark colour and intense aroma, the light Balsamico Bianco retains its typically fruity-fresh aroma and colour by being stored in stainless steel barrels.
A good light balsamico can be recognised by the place of production (Modena, Emilia-Romagna), the maturing time (at least 9 months) and the fruity-fresh taste with a balanced ratio of sweetness and acidity. For this we recommend the Condimento Bianco, Campo del Picchio, organic or the Condimento Denso Bianco "Sua Maestà", density 1,30, 250ml