aceto balsamico tradizionale di modena

when i wrote about our stay in bologna last autumn, i promised to say a little more about balsamic vinegar.

modena is the home of balsamic vinegar and i had hoped that we would find time to spend a day visiting this small town. however, time was tight and this didn’t happen. i did, however, find the time to visit gilberto, a fabulous food shop which sold a wide variety of sweets, biscuits, chocolates, preserves, wines and, very conveniently, balsamic vinegar.

according to the very helpful lady in the shop, traditional balsamic vinegar is aged for a minimum of twelve years, with eighteen and twenty five years being the other options. traditional balsamic vinegar of this sort of age is not cheap - i blew c£30 on a 100ml bottle of the gilberto 12 year old!

the difference between traditional balsamic vinegar and the standard balsamic vinegar you get at the supermarket is enormous. my balsamic is sweet with layers of flavour and not something to add to a dressing. it is delicious drizzled over red fruit such as strawberries and cherries. it’s also mighty fine with some parmesan and cured meats. perfect for a girl with a kitchen full of boxes.

gilberto, via drapperie, 40124 bologna, italy