Dove Vai? – Balsamic Vinegar Museum, Museo del Cibo #3

While visiting the Musei del Cibo in the region around Parma, a visitor will find a rewarding short detour to the Balsamic Vinegar Museum (Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale) in Spilamberto, less than ten miles southeast of Modena.

Casks used to ferment Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Casks used to ferment Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale) is produced in the area around Modena, which was once the ancient lands of the ducal family of Este.

Acelto Balsamico Tradizionale of Dukes of Este (18th cent.)
Acelto Balsamico Tradizionale of Dukes of Este (18th cent.)

With no addition of any aromatic substances, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is obtained from cooked grape-must, which is slowly turned into a rich, think, sweet deep caramel-colored liquid from natural fermentation and progressive concentration through a very long (10 to 100 years) ageing process in a set of progressively smaller casks of different kinds of wood.

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is a deep, dark and bright brown color with a smooth thick density. The taste is a well balanced sweet and sour that changes depending on the types of wood used for the aging.

The main difference between the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and all other vinegars is not only the material from which it is obtained, but most of all the alchemy of time together with the knowledge and know-how of a tradition of ancient origin.

The so-called balsamic vinegar, found in the U.S. at neighborhood supermarkets or on the table of most Italian restaurants, is frequently made of a splash of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale mixed with a large quantity of regular red wine vinegar, or worse, is sweetened red wine vinegar with caramel coloring.

Copper-lined Pot used to Cook Grape-must for Balsamic Vinegar
Copper-lined Pot used to Cook Grape-must for Balsamic Vinegar

The Museo Balsamico Tradizionale provides a comprehensive explanation, through both an English-language film and rooms filled with ancient and modern equipment, of the deceptively simple process for making this sublime nectar.

Bottles of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale made in Modena
Bottles of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena

The museum is compact, but a visitor emerges with an understanding of the history, culture and pride of the producers located in a narrow a strip of land in the Italy’s Emilia Region. The museum displays reveal true complexity of the product’s preparation that time and experience have made perfect; argues for the need to protect its name, control its genuineness and regulate its production so as to avoid any form of industrialization.

Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale

Villa Comunale Fabriani
Via Roncati, 28
41057 Spilamberto (Mo)

tel. +39 059 781614
fax +39 059 7861913

e-mail: info@museodelbalsamicotradizionale.org

Hours:

Tuesday to Sunday 9.30 – 13.00 / 15.00 – 19.00

The Museum is closed for holidays, including December 23 – 25, and January 1.

Tickets:

€ 2,00
€ 4,00 w/ tasting (only on Sunday morning or by reservation)
€ 1,00 for seniors over 65
Free for minors under 18

Guided Visit:

Only with prior reservation: info@museodelbalsamicotradizionale.org

Web Site:

http://www.museodelbalsamicotradizionale.org

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