I tend to travel for my stomach, in search of some bold flavours and rich cuisine traditions. One of my favourites is Italy, a country flooded with a diversity of flavour. One of my trips started with Modena, home of the grape must reduced, rich, beautifully thick, balsamic vinegar. There are 3 types of protected balsamics, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia DOP and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena IGP.
My adventure took me to Giuseppe Giusti Modena where I quickly learned there is no turning up unannounced to tastings. But in pure Italian style they graciously slipped me in for a private tasting. This lead to a moment of reflection on how I was going to sherpa all the goodies home and this was stop one. The tastings ranged in years and accolades obtained over time. There were two fun surprises the White Giusti (white vinegar) made from Trebbiano grapes to produce a beautifully sweet, white condiment and the other the Tartufo (truffle) infused balsamic. My lesson: read your labels and know where your balsamic comes from. Like good wine this is something to seek out. Most grocery stores carry “balsamic vinegar” but it doesn’t fall under the proper designation. Find a boutique food store and seek out this flavour.
Try a drizzle of this with a big chunk of parmigiano-reggiano. You can’t go wrong.