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More About Balsamic Vinegar

DOP is short for Denominazione di Origine Protetta or Protected Designation of Origin. This certification guarantees that the food was produced by local farmers and artisans, using traditional methods. In fact, by law, only DOP products like balsamic vinegar can carry the word "Traditional" on their labels, because they adhere to meticulous local traditions.

Twenty Five Years ago  Balsamic Vinegars were just becoming known here in the States, "Tradizionales"   weren't even available for purchase. The only way to acquire some was either bringing a bottle back from Italy or receiving a gift from Italian friends.

Today there are plenty of specialty stores online offering so called "Balsamic Vinegar of Modena", but sadly most of what people buy and have had tasted is only the  imitation product. Today there is hardly a supermarket that doesn't carry on its shelves at least a half dozen brands of balsamic vinegar in various shapes, sizes, prices and claims of vintage. Because there are no U.S. standards to identify for balsamic vinegar, both the imported and domestically produced ones vary widely in their approximation of the real thing. Given that "True" balsamic vinegar is one of the great pleasures of the food world, seeking out an authentic bottle is well worth the time and expense.

Gleaming dark brown in color with an intensely fruity aroma and exquisite sweet and sour flavor, authentic Balsamico is a specialty of the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy.

It is made only in the provinces of Modena & Reggio Emilia and is credited as originating in the city of Modena. Today it is protected with a D.O.P. (Denomination of Protected Origin) designation, only vinegar made in the region can be called balsamic.