Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is everywhere, we can find it in gourmet shops but also on discount shelves. Usually it is believed that, the higher the cost, the higher the quality. But this is not always true! The German magazine Oko Test has compared different brands of Balsamic Vinegars sold in Germany and the final ranking is confusing.
In fact, at the top of the ranking we find both the most expensive and the cheapest version available on the market, respectively in the first and second position. On the podium there is the one with the “Isolai di San Giorgio” trademark, while the second place is occupied by the product sold by Aldi Nord “Casa Morando”. Among the good ones there is also the Balsamic vinegar sold by Aldi Sud, Cucina, while among the products that have been judged sufficiently good there are the vinegars by Lidl, Acentino and Bertolli.
Balsamic vinegar of Modena obtained the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) mark in 2009. This means that it must contain precise ingredients, according to the rules established by the Consortium for its protection. For example, only seven varieties of grapes can be used but, although typical of the Emilia Romagna region, it is not mandatory that they come from this production area. In addition, the ingredients, once mixed, must be kept for at least two months in wooden containers (at least three years for vinegars that are labeled as “aged”).
To be sure about the quality of what we buy it is fundamental to check the list of the ingredients. Highest quality Vinegars contain only cooked must and wine vinegar and no caramel coloring. It is also important to check the order in which the ingredients are listed on the packaging and ,if present, the percentage of must used compared to the other ingredients: this can vary considerably, from 20 to 90%. Finally, another fundamental element is the aging period, which affects considerably the organoleptic characteristics of the final product.