Balsamic vinegar is balsamic vinegar, right? Wrong! Although it might say “balsamic vinegar,” subtle variations in label wording can make a big difference as far as what’s in the bottle.
The three primary grades of balsamic vinegar are traditional, commercial grade and condiment grade, with each having their own varieties. Here are some of the ways to identify what kind of balsamic vinegar you’re dealing with and its unique characteristics.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Traditional balsamic vinegar may be labeled as either:
“Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia”
“Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena”
Produced in the regions of Modena or Reggio Emilia, Italy, traditional balsamic vinegars take years to produce and feature an incredibly thick, glossy, flavorful product. Only Trebbiano or Lambrusco grapes are used to make this type of balsamic vinegar. The juice from these grapes is aged in wooden barrels for 12 to 18 years to develop its unique flavor. These balsamic vinegars are the highest grade, and priciest, available.
Commercial Grade Balsamic Vinegar
Aged for a minimum amount of time, if at all, commercial grade balsamic vinegars are mass produced from wine vinegar and have caramel coloring, thickeners and flavors added.
These balsamic vinegars may simply be called “Balsamic Vinegar” if they’re produced in the U.S. or other regions. Some produced in the Modena region may carry the distinguishing “of Modena” labeling. These uniquely sweet and sour vinegars are perfectly suitable for marinades, salad dressings and sauces.
Condiment Grade Balsamic Vinegar
While not refined enough to meet the requirements to be called traditional balsamic vinegar, condiment grade balsamic vinegars are produced with more time and care than commercial grade.
These balsamic vinegars may be produced using the same techniques as traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, but made outside of that region, thus labeling them condiment grade. Vinegars made by traditional standards and within designated regions of Italy but aged for fewer than 12 years are also considered condiment grade. Condiment grade balsamic vinegars may carry the labels “Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI,” “condimento balsamico,” “salsa balsamica,” or “salsa di mosto cotto.”
These vinegars provide a depth of flavor similar to traditional balsamic vinegar, but at a more reasonable price tag.
Interested in expanding your offering of balsamics? Let Dot Foods help. Just ask your distributor Sales Representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cook. Eat. Savor!
Items can be viewed on the Dot Expressway by searching the below:
Carello Balsamic Vinegar – 2-5 Liter, Item #358896
Carello Balsamic Vinegar – 12-16.9 Ounce, Item #358897
Savor Balsamic Vinegar Bronze Level, 2-5 Liter, Item #558552
Savor White Balsamic Vinegar, 2-5 Liter, Item #558568
De Nigris Balsamic Glaze Original, 1-400 Milliliter, Item #558580
De Nigris Balsamic Ketchup, 12-10.5 Ounce, Item #558584
De Nigris Balsamic Vinegar Platinum Level, 6-250 Millileter, Item #560444