The origins of a centuries-old history

Fabio Massimo Bonini in his “acetaia”
Fabio Massimo Bonini in his “acetaia”

Most Illustrious and Honorable Master
Nov 13, 1774

A Generous Soul is known no less in accepting small Gifts, than in giving large ones.
Heartened by such Considerations, I dare present Your Illustrious Lordship with four small Vials of my Balsamic Vinegar, which, other than having been long Aged, has no further Virtue.
I deferentially beseech Your Illustrious Lordship to indulge me by deigning to accept this pure Deed of Respect; and similarly by enrolling me in the Register of your most Devout Servants, as such I have the Honor of avowing myself.
To Your Most Illustrious Lordship
Modena, November 13, 1774
Most Devout and Most Obliged Servant
Antonio Boccolari

P.S. For the Purpose of Ensuring that the Vinegar not be exchanged I have marked the Box and the Vials with this Seal; and it is Carriage Free
His Lordship Antonio Tecchi (Milano)

Bonini Traditional Modena Balsamic Vinegar: a DOP delicacy

The DOP certification (Denominazione di Origine Protetta, Protected Designation of Origin) which is granted to selected balsamic vinegar makers in Modena. By choosing a DOP product, you are assured that it belongs to a unique tradition and culture, guaranteeing unadulterated quality and unrivaled flavor and taste.

Traditional Modena Balsamic Vinegar: How it is created ?

Traditional Modena Balsamic Vinegar ripens in dark and silent aging rooms, refined and aged for years through a series of barrels of different woods. It is then extracted and bottled according to two certified quality levels: aged for at least twelve years (classic, or “affinato”, balsamic vinegar), or for at least twenty-five years (“extravecchio” balsamic vinegar). Following DOP regulations, the raw material used to make Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena comes from grapes of the Trebbiano variety, which have been grown for centuries in the province of Modena.

There are four main steps to the creation of the vinegar: picking the grapes, crushing them, cooking the must and aging the vinegar. The aging stage requires the most skillful attention and must be personally supervised by experts who have learned the ancient unwritten rules from the previous generations of master vinegar makers. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena ages in a row of barrels of decreasing size: each barrel is topped up every year with vinegar coming from the larger one next to it, where the product has absorbed the flavors of a different wood. As the vinegar ripens, it develops its fullness and its balance between the dense and volatile components; sugars and residue increase, and acidity stays constant. Its unique traditional taste is a balance of sweet and sour, full, generous, savory, with velvety nuances in tune with its olfactory features.

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is bright and dark brown in color; dense, yet free-flowing and smoothly syrupy. In fine cuisine, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is used on fresh and steamed vegetables; as a base for sauces; as a final touch to fish or meat dishes; and even to top strawberries and vanilla ice cream. It is impossible to define a precise dosage for such a versatile and “individualist” product; however, some suggestions are offered by the past few centuries’ experience. Quantity should be barely a teaspoon per person. For fresh vegetables, the correct sequence is salt, Balsamic and olive oil. For cooked dishes, Balsamic should be added shortly before removing from the heat, so that it can flavor the preparation without dissipating the complexity of its aroma. For hot dishes served in individual plates, add Balsamic just before serving.