Tutto Food has as its protagonist the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

The exhibition Tutto Food, which will take place from the 3rd to the 6th May in Milan, wants its public to taste and know the most prestigious products made in Italy: we are talking about the Balsamic Vinegar (Aceto Balsamico) of Modena IGP and the so called Piadina and Squacquerone of Romagna DOP (soft cheese).

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Balsamic vinegar condiment from Modena

You will find the food-tasting at the stand K26-M23 di AICIG, Associazione Italiana Consorzi Indicazioni Geografiche at the pavilion 4 of the Rho Pero exhibition, in the expository area of the exhibition of Milan, adjacent to the pavilions of the Expo 2015, as they are directly associated.

The Quadò Editore team, specialized in culinary publishing, has created especially for this occasion, some delicious cocktails and long drinks red orange and natural blueberry-flavored enriched with the balsamic vinegar. You will have the chance to taste them every day at the stand.

However, you’ll see that the best moment will take place Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th when you’ll admire three cooking shows when the vinegar, called Oro Nero (black gold) will be again the protagonist together with the Consorzio Piadina Romagnola and Associazione Squacquerone di Romagna Dop. Federico Desimoni will represent the group of safeguard Aceto Balsamico of Modena IGP, while the group Piadina Romagnola will be represented by the manager Elio Simoni and the vice manager Moreno Giulianelli.

However, the three special cooking shows won’t be the only occasions where the balsamic Vinegar will be the protagonist: during the exhibition Tutto Food, the new web site of the group will be presented and it has been created by the digital communication agencies Aicod and Mind the Pop.

The main purpose of the new web site is to clearly and directly communicate with the potential costumer, letting him know the peculiarities of the Balsamic Vinegar and even the warranties offered by the group. A special area is consecrated to the recipes created by the students of the Catering Institute of Serramazzoni and by a team of Italian food bloggers.

Identità Golose Expo will have the chance to give to its costumers some tasting of balsamic Vinegar. We are talking about the event that for six months, during the well-known Expo 2015 in Milan, will give the opportunity to many Italian and international chefs to create an innovative, original and refined temporary restaurant.

In any case, the Expo 2015 as well as Tutto Food, won’t be the only important events that will take place in Milan. In a totally different location there will be the Milano design week 2015, and again the Black Gold of Modena will be present.

The showroom of Lea Ceramiche in Via Durini in Milan will become a gourmet gastronomy together with Consorzio Modena a Tavola, Modenatur and Artest.

During all the Expo 2015, each month you’ll have the opportunity to experience any kind of tasting , but to see the balsamic Vinegar as main character you’ll have to wait until August to live the sensorial experience called “Gelato e Aceto Balsamico family drops”; as he name suggests, the vinegar will be associated to the ice cream, and it’s clear that it’s not to be missed.

Modena and Reggio Emilia: find REAL Balsamic Vinegar

There is still a lot of confusion about what constitutes a genuine Balsamic vinegar, or Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, to give this Italian “black gold” its  correct name. After all, anyone can walk into their local supermarket and find a string of different vinegars all bearing the name Balsamic Vinegar of Modena; this is confusing I know, but do not be fooled – this is a cheaper “imitation” and nothing at all like the product it tries to imitate. Most of cheaper bottles will contain cooked grape juice and ordinary red wine vinegar, and sometimes thickeners and caramel to sweeten and colour. These products are regulated by IGP labelling and producers can add these additives to obtain the right colour or density. Most of them are pleasant enough to use for salad dressing, and slightly sweeter than regular red wine vinegar.

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Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, in its typical bottle.

What is real traditional balsamic vinegar then?

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, by contrast, is regulated every step of the way through the production and aging process and may only be produced in two areas, Modena and Reggio Emilia in the north of Italy, which is where you should go to find it and see how it is made. The best way to be sure that you are finding the real thing is to go on a Balsamic Tour to one of the producers, where you will learn all about the production process and how to recognise the genuine product. There are about 160 producers in the two regions, who make a total of just 75,000 bottles a year. The vinegar is made in the traditional age-old way, using mainly trebbiano grapes grown locally. The vinegar is aged in a succession of wooden barrels which become smaller and smaller until it has been maturing for at least 12 years, the minimum acceptable aging period for a Tradizionale Balsamic. At this stage the vinegar will be tasted by the regulatory body, the Consorzio to which the producer belongs, and if it is passed it will be labelled affinato, indicating a young Balsamic, and is bottled with a white top, in both Modena and Reggio Emilia.

Extra old balsamic vinegars in Modena and Reggio Emilia.

About 30 – 40% of the product is then further aged until it reaches 25 or even 30 years old. A really well matured over 25 year old Balsamic is labelled extra vecchio (very old) and will be bottled with a gold top in both regions. In Reggio Emilia, there is a third designation for vinegars that have been matured for at least 18 years – they are labelled vecchio (old) and bottled with a gold top. The bottle shapes are also distinctive for each region; in Modena they use a rounded globe-shaped bottle with a rectangular base and a long neck, while the Reggio Emilia bottle is straighter and has a slightly flared base.

Many of the producers (acetaia) in the Modena and Reggio Emilia region are very happy to take you on a tour of their establishments, but most will require advance booking if you are not part of a tour. Acetaia di Giorgio is one of the producers in Modena who will give you a genuine welcome and an excellent tour, including the chance to taste several different balsamics, while in Reggio Emilia, Acetaia Medici is a good choice since they not only make excellent Balsamic, but also several wonderful wines.

Emilia Delizia will be delighted to organise a traditional balsamic tour for your group, big or small. Our company can organise an all inclusive day with transport and English speaking guide, departing from Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia and Parma.

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The 3 ageing of the traditional balsamic vinegar of Reggio Emilia

Channel 4 “Food Unwrapped” comes to Modena to discover balsamic vinegar.

The British Television Channel 4  has dedicated one of the episodes of “Food unwrapped” to Balsamic vinegar. The food program is a TV series broadcast between 2012 and 2013 in the UK and aimed to discover the reality of food. The program compares and investigates  what goes into what we eat.

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Food Unwrapped in Modena – source

In late March we were contacted by a subsidiary of Channel 4, in order to organise the shooting of the programme in Modena. With only one day to put together an itinerary for the crew, we worked hard to come up with the best ideas. Emilia Delizia organised a pick up for the crew, a English speaking guide, hotel accommodation, and a tour to three different balsamic vinegar producers. To make the programme comparative we selected 3 of them. One producer of PGI Balsamic vinegar, one producer of DOP vinegar and a producer of organic balsamic condiment. In short we provided them with a real insight of the vinegar industry.

Emilia Delizia selected Giusti as one of the best candidate for the shooting, as we reckoned they had the best array of products and also the longest experience in the field. The shooting went particularly well and the show presenter and celebrity chef Matt Tebbutt seemed to enjoy his time with Claudio Stefani during his discovery of Traditional balsamic vinegar DOP and the PGI vinegar.

DOP tradizionale Balsamic vinegar VS PGI Balsamic vinegar of Modena.

These are 2 quite different products that are both made in Modena. While the DOP version has to observe strict regulation imparted by the consortium, The PGI vinegar (PGI stands for Protected Geographic Indication) falls in a much more open domain of production where rules are much more permissive. However PGI Balsamic vinegar of Modena does not always mean to be industrial, with ample use of colouring and preservatives. In fact some of the PGI versions of the famous Modena vinegar can be very good without any additives and sold at a very fair price.

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Matt Tebbutt and Claudio in Modena

Giusti – Balsamic vinegar producer in Modena.

Giusti is the oldest and most prestigious company of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Founded in 1605 and at the 17th generation, this family company was awarded with quality recognitions since 1800’s, when 14 gold medals were granted in Exhibitions like Florence 1861, Paris 1889 and 1900. Also, Giusti was bestowed with the Patent of the King of Italy as sole balsamic vinegar supplier.

Today Giusti boasts proudly the most important collection of ancient casks and barrels in the world of balsamic vinegar: more than 600 casks, all dating back to 1800’s and 1700’s, drawing flavors and aromas created centuries ago. This impressive collection, still perfectly working and producing excellent balsamic vinegars, can be visited in the old attics of the country house where Giusti vinegar is made, and where there is an internal museum with old objects from the history of Balsamic Vinegar.

The Giusti collection offers a range of high quality balsamic vinegars of various ageing,  up to the oldest ones. They can be found in the most exclusive gourmet shops, and they are interpreted by the best chefs in the world. Like the “3 Gold Medals, Riccardo Giusti”, done with late grapes, extremely thick and sweet, aged for more 12 years, awarded best balsamic vinegar in Italy, Germany and US; the “Banda Rossa”, a delicious 20 years old Balsamic Vinegar, given by the grandfather Giuseppe Giusti as a special family gift in the 1960’s. The oldest Traditional Balsamic Vinegars of Modena DOP complete the offer .

The Giusti family is happy to welcome food lovers from all over the world, offering free guided tours with tastings of all his Balsamic Vinegars, to explore the origins, the history and legends, and how is made, one of the most celebrated Italian products all over the world.

 Emilia Delizia and the Media.

Our company welcomes enquiries from the media about exploring Italian famous food products. If you are looking to produce a TV program, or a newspaper article we would be glad to help to get the best out of your time in Italy. It might be very complicated even for the most experienced journalist to have a real insight of the topic. Emilia Delizia has a long experience in the field and we would be happy to help you to put together your story.

Balsamic vinegar tour in Modena – EmiliaDelizia.com

Modena and the traditional balsamic vinegar produced here are truly Italian gems of uniqueness.

 

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Cathedral of Modena

The Duomo di Modena is part of the Unesco world’s heritage and it is something really markable that you should not miss. It is almost 1000 years old and build only from scrap marbled derived from ancient Roman villas. The Duomo has been built according the Romanesque style by the masters of Campione D’Italia. The structure celebrates Modena’s patron and protector San Geminiano.

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100 ml bottle of balsamic vinegar of Modena

Hidden in the family’s  home attics there is another treasure: Traditional Balsamic vinegar of Modena. Only made by the Modenese families in small batches and aged up to 25 years, it is a remarkable pearl in the Italian gastronomic tradition. It requires a set of barrels made of noble woods, Lambrusco grape juice and a lot of patience. Every year the producers have to painstakingly refill the barrels since some of the liquid is lost due to natural evaporation during the hot summers. However this allows to blend the flavours of the woods into the final product.

 

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trying the balsamic vinegar

The traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena has basically nothing to do with lower quality vinegar even when marketed as MODENA’S. During the tasting we will discover how to distinguish the black nectar from its numerous imitations. The tasting is aimed to develop an appreciation for the producer and learn how to match it with foods. Even though it is seen by many as an expensive and eccentric product it can be used on everyday’s foods. If used correctly a bottle will last for long time.

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The balsamic vinegar barrels

During Emilia Delizia’s Traditional Balsamic Vinegar tour we will learn how the fractional ageing works and each detail of the production will be explained to our guests. For those wishing to take home some of the product is now possible to purchase the 100 ml bottles directly from the producer at discounted prices. Some producers are also happy to send their products directly to your home and almost all accept all major credit cards.

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The Ghirlandina tower of Modena

Even though Modena is small, it is a true concentration of history, architecture and food delicacies. If you want to truly sample the city we recommend to spend at least one night and a full day. Modena is also famous for Parmesan cheese, pasta like tortellini, Zampone and cotechino and there is an endless array of good restaurants in the city centre. Ranging from cheap eat to Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, Modena is set to please everyone in terms of food.

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Ferrari museum in central Modena

Modena is also the capital of motor sport, and super cars. The newly open Enzo Ferrari museums is an interesting hot spot for those fanatic about the Ferrari cars. The modern building offers themed and rotating car collections that express the soul Modena. It is also possible to catch a shuttle bus and visit the Maranello Ferrari museum without the need of hiring a car.

Four products that you should take home while visiting Emilia-Romagna

Emilia Romagna is the region of Italy that shaped modern Italian cuisine. Notably there are 4 products that you should take home with you and they are balsamic vinegar, Parma ham, Parmigiano Reggiano and a bottle of good Lambrusco.

Taking home Parmesan cheese – Parmigiano Reggiano.

Parmesan cheese as it is an aged cheese is safe to take back to most countries in the world, including the U.S. Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and of course the entire EU. Generally speaking there are no restrictions in self importing Parmigiano Reggiano to any country. Custom officers back home should not give you any trouble when taking with you this aged cheese. It also a common norm to vacuum pack the cheese, and remember to ask for “sotto vuoto”, the shop keeper will oblige and vacuum pack the cheese for you. In this form the Parmesan cheese will last for 6 months and once opened, store it in a Tupperware container for no longer than 2/3 months.

Parma ham and other salumi.

For cured meat is a different story, unfortunately it virtually impossible to bring back any meat products when travelling outside the EU. The U.S. Japanese and Australian customs are quite strict when it comes to cold cuts from Italy, they might impose hefty fines. On the other hand if you travel inside the E.U. there are no restrictions of any kind.

Bringing back Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

Aceto balsamico tradizionale of Modena and Reggio Emilia comes in 100 ml bottles and it is packed in sturdy boxes. Theoretically you could take it on the plane on your carry-on luggage as the content is 100 ml, however rather than confronting the check-in people with your precious black gold it would be a better option to store it in your checked-in luggage. As it comes in its strong boxes there are no chances of breaking the bottles. Shipping is another option but not all producers do it and it is costly especially for small purchases.

Taking home a bottle of Lambrusco from Italy.

Good Lambrusco is scarce back home, you are more likely to be able to find cheaper versions that fill the bottom of the supermarket shelves. In the last 10 years Lambrusco producers have been working hard to make upper scale versions of the wine and get the recognitions that they should really deserve. Many visitors after trying our best Lambrusco cannot go home without a bottle of the red sparkling wine. Customs wise is permitted to take alcohol back home but the quantities vary depending on the country so it is better to check this details before taking large quantities. Of course there are no restriction for personal use within the E.U. Bottles travel safely in the check in luggage but they should be properly wrapped before packing them. Try to wrap a towel around them. Shipping wine is also an option but really worth only if you buy expensive premium wines.

Emilia Delizia wholesale service, wine, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese.

As Emilia Delizia main office is based in London UK, we would like to announce our wholesale food service for delicatessens, restaurants, food importers and resellers. If you are based in London and you are looking for one of our products in larger quantities we are able to supply premium organic quality directly from Italy at competitive prices. The produces are palletised and shipped directly to your doorstep. Parmesan cheese, Balsamic vinegar and Lambrusco can be also sent to the U.S, Australia, Japan, and other countries world wide. For more information about our organic products you can check our online food shop.

 

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Parma ham too big to pack in your suit case – many countries impose restrictions on importing meats

The food idiot guide to Modena: balsamic vinegar, pasta, and secret trattorias

There is more in Modena than traditional balsamic vinegar, Emilia Delizia explores some hidden gems in the city of Aceto balsamico tradizionale and beyond.

 

Balsamic vinegar tour and tasting in Modena

First of all you should definitely come to Modena for 2 main reasons: balsamic vinegar (the PDO traditional one) and Ferrari sport cars. There are hundreds of acetaia (balsamic vinegar producers) around Modena, but not many are in the city centre and reachable by taxi or public transport. Traditional balsamic vinegar producers would be very happy to explain how the production happens and arrange a vinegar tasting for you.

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Traditional balsamic vinegar tasting and producer tour in Modena

Mercato Albinelli – ancient food market in Modena.

The Albinelli market is the main market of the town. it was thought to replace the market that was taking place in the main piazza since medieval times. The covered market has been established in the 1930, and it is part of the historical market circuit in Italy.
Here you will find all the gourmet food you always wanted. Prosciutto, culatello, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, fresh sea food and fish, cheese from Emilia Romagna and many products from all over Italy.

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Modena market – Mercato Albinelli

 Trattoria Aldina – Secret dining experience in Modena.

Secret and pop up restaurants are pretty much fashionable these days. Trattoria Aldina was not born to be one, however it feels like it. The entrance is not at street level and you will have to use the door bell and run up a flight of stairs to gain access. Once you get in, you have this home feeling, just like  you are going to have lunch at your Italian aunty flat. And you did not see her for see for a decade. Home made fresh pasta and traditional cuisine.

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Restaurant trattoria Aldina in Modena

Modena is pasta business.

In Modena you are in the centre of fresh pasta making business. Many are the shops in the city centre that make their own pasta to take away, of course you will have to have access to a kitchen to enjoy them and cook as you like. You will find tortellini, tortelloni, tagliatelle, tagliollini and other fancy shapes. Pasta in Modena is always made with soft wheat and eggs are used for binding.

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 Antica macelleria Ghioldi in Modena.

If you are into meat at the butcher shop Macelleria Ghioldi you will find a way to stuff your belly with cibi della memoria, of food of the memory. In other words these are forgotten dishes that the owner wanted to bring back to the present days. Like cervella impanate (breaded brains) or trippa alla parmigiana (Parma style tripes), or cotiche e fagioli (pigs skin and beans)

 

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the forgotten foods – meat eating in Modena

Traditional balsamic vinegar tour in Modena

How to visit a traditional balsamic vinegar producer in Modena – Emilia Romagna – Italy.

Emilia Delizia can take you to tour a traditional ACETAIA as we call the traditional balsamic vinegar producer here in Modena. Most visitors will be surprised by the difference between the “regular” or industrial balsamic vinegar and the DOP traditional balsamic vinegar that it is produced only in private houses in Modena and Reggio Emilia. Traditionally a batch of new balsamic vinegar was only started at the birth of a baby girl and it would become her dowry when she would marry. In the past centuries the aceto balsamico was only used within the family and sometimes given to important guests. It is said that the Duke of Modena had his own important vinegar attic, in his palace, important people would be introduced to the delights of the black gold when visiting Modena by the ducal family. As part of our tours we can take people to visit private villas and houses where this black nectar is still produced in small quantities in the most traditional way.

How Balsamic vinegar is made in Modena.

Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is made from initially reducing organic grape juice (must) to about 30% by just simmering the product for about 24 hours, this is to increase the sugar content in the juice. It is important to never reach the boiling point  in order to preserve the friendly bacteria that are already present in the liquid. This is done at harvest time between September and October the grape  must is obtained from Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes. To age the vinegar a set of barrel is required. A mother barrel usually the lager in a set of 4,5 or 6 increasingly smaller barrels, all made of different woods such as  acacia, ash, chestnut, mulberry, cherry. From this moment in autumn it will take at least 12 years of painstakingly topping the evaporated must from the last but one barrel to the last one, and the repeating the sequence from the last but two to the last but one and so on until the mother barrel is then topped up with fresh grape must. No vinegar will be drawn for at least 12 years to obtain at least the “younger balsamic vinegar”.

How to use traditional balsamic vinegar.

The tradition wants that the precious black nectar obtained by the natural concentration of the flavours is used as a digestive at the end of the meal. It is best consumed on plastic or ceramic spoon as metal it is very cold and it would lower the sensory experience.

12 years old traditional balsamic vinegar.

It has more acidity than the other vintages and the sweetness is more subtle. You will soon find out that the favours of the woods are felt on different parts of your tongue and mouth. This balsamic vinegar is particularly indicated on fresher cheeses such as ricotta or mozzarella. You can also add to meat or fish dishes. The important that is used sparingly and only added the end of cooking.

The extra old vintage 24 years old traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena

The acidity decreases and the sweetness is more present, but it is not a flat sugary sensation, it is actually very complex. On your tongue you feel the taste of the blended wood tannins  such as the spiciness of juniper or the sweetness of the cherry wood. At this age it is a perfect match for aged cheese such as Parmesan or even for desserts: straberries, chocolate and ice creams.

28 YEARS OLD VINEGAR and over – Only in the Reggio Emilia province.

Only produced and marketed at this age in the Reggio Emilia. At this point the vinegar has lost a lot of its acidity and it the wood and the sweetness becomes even more accentuated, almost like a sweet complex black nectar. It is best consumed at the end of the meal as a digestive. The province of Reggio Emilia is also a producer of Traditional balsamic vinegar due to the proximity to Modena. The tradition was brought in Reggio Emilia as many women were marring across the 2 provinces bringing their dowry with them. During our Balsamic vinegar tour it is possible to visit Reggio Emilia producer and discover the 3 ageing typical of the area. If you want to learn more about Reggio Emilia culinary tradition please continue reading here.  

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Balsamic vinegar barrels
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Ampules containing balsamic vinegar “Tradizionale” for tasting