Contrary to what people might think, the use of balsamic vinegar is traditionally really much more limited in Italy than its popularity outside of the country might lead one to suppose. Good-quality vinegars made with either red or white wine are much more generally used in areas that are not within the production areas of Emilia Romagna, and specifically the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Real balsamic vinegar is a condiment that has very old origins and to this day is produced privately, at home, in the attics of the grand old houses of Modena and Reggio Emilia, It is the men of the household who prepare the balsamic vinegar, using barrels of various sizes. When their daughters marry, the bride takes a proportion of the father’s balsamic with her as part of her dowry, thus ensuring that the family tradition is kept going from one generation to the next.

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