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Italian balsamic vinegar types and differences

What are the types of balsamic vinegar

There is a lot of confusion about balsamic vinegar. In a supermarket one can find bottles Italian vinegar in prices ranging from a few dollars to 30 dollars. There are several types of balsamic vinegars one can find when shopping. Depending of the cooking needs and recipe to be used, a different type may be most suitable.

Traditional Italian balsamic vinegar

It is a reduction made from grapes and is not considered a wine vinegar because the grape juice used is not fermented. The grape juice used to produce the traditional balsamic vinegar must come from the Italian Trebbiano grapes. Standards administered by the Itallian consortia in Modena and Reggio Emilia define every aspect of balsamic vinegar production and aging. Also the type of bottle and color of the cap are predefined.

balsamic vinegar in barrels

True balsamic vinegar sells in 3.4 ounce bottles and costs from $50.00 to $500.00 per bottle. It must be aged at least 10 year. The most expensive balsamic vinegars are aged 25 and even 50 years. Dark in color and syrupy, with a flavor which is a balance of sweet and sour. Inexpensive balsamic vinegars have brown sugar or caramel added to look like the quality ones. The best balsamic vinegars contain only grapes, with no other additions.

Follow these tips offered by The Vinegar Institute:

  • The consortium seal should be over the cap and on the label.
  • Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is only bottled in the unique bulb shape, 100-milliliter bottle.
  • Modena brands use red label for 12 years aging and silver label for 18 years aging.
  • A gold cap is used for vinegar aged for a minimum of 20 years.
  • Bottles comes in a box with a recipe book and description of the manufacturing process.