BALSAMIC VINEGAR PRODUCTIONThe must of red and white grapes is reduced to a concentrate by slow simmering, allowed to cool and decanted into banks of upright wooden vats of diverse sizes. These, called vaselli, are made of various woods, most commonly of oak, locust, mulberry, ash, acacia, chestnut and juniper. At the beginning of winter the largest vasello, containing just a little normal vinegar, is filled to the top with cooked must and left open to the air. During spring, summer and autumn much of this brew evaporates and during the subsequent winter the dense residue precipitates to the bottom. It is now shiftedf from the smallest vasello to the next larger one, the content of that to the next one up, and so, one after the other, to fill up the largest of all. There the vinegar must remain for at least five years, but twelve years are needed to qualify for the title tradizionale, 'traditional'. Fifty litres of cooked must are needed to make just one litre of true balsamic vinegar. Marketing and distribution are controlled by a consortium that inspects quality and ensures that only the typical, small bottles of a hundred millilitre, or one tenth of a litre, are used. The characteristic sweet-sour-aromatic flavour must satisfy the palates of the experts, so that the end-product will be found delicious on all vegetables both cooked and raw, meats, fish, all cheeses (especially on fresh Parmesan!) and fruit (all red berries, and pineapple!), and as an adjunct or condiment in cooked dishes of all sorts.You can tour the Balsamic vinegar region with Le Baccanti at Balsamic Vinegar Tour
and tour some of the top producers in the area form leading producers like Acetaia Malpighi to small family-run producers like Ca'del Non. AREAS OF PRODUCTIONChiefly, the Province of Modena, home of the true l'aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena (DOP); an then also Reggio Emilia, home of the less known but equally precious aceto balsamico tradizionale di Reggio Emilia. Actaia Malpighi was selected for "Italy at your table"