Balsamic Vinegar

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

balsamic vinegar which takes its name from ‘balsamic’, meaning health giving, is a traditional product of the province of Modena in Italy, produced on an artisanal scale and greatly superior to any ‘balsamic vinegar’ which comes from factories.

Making the real thing takes a long time; see box ‘Making and Using the True Traditional Balsamic Vinegar’.
Before any of the balsamic vinegar can be sold under the traditional label of authenticity, it is sampled blind by members of the guild of balsamic vinegar-makers, and has to be approved. The merits of the ‘real thing’ are undisputed, but may have been exaggerated towards the end of the 20th century by its becoming a fashionable ingredient in sophisticated restaurants in western countries; and the production of inferior kinds in factories has been encouraged by the glint of the gold which is attracted by the name.