Balsamic vinegar: an interview with producer Giacomo Cinelli

Years ago I used to buy so called balsamic vinegar from supermarkets to use on my salads without thinking much about it. My dad always used to say to me: “Stop buying that rubbish, you are just adding sugar to your diet!”.
If you buy cheap balsamic vinegar and read the ingredients on the label you will realize that what you are buying is ordinary wine vinegar with the addition of caramel (which is sugar).

So are industries ripping us off?! What’s balsamic vinegar then?

Barrels of balsamic vinegar

Let’s hear it from the experts. Mr Giacomo Cinelli is the Export Director for Agricola Due Vittorie  from Modena where real balsamic vinegar is produced.
Here is my interview with him.

1) Mr Cinelli how long has “Due Vittorie” been producing balsamic vinegar?

Due Vittorie actually only started to produce balsamic vinegar in the early 2000’s. However, Mr. Maletti, the owner, had previously worked in the production of Lambrusco wine – one of 7 vineyards accepted for production of Balsamic Vinegar (indeed, it is one of the best). From his Lambrusco experience, he saw the opportunity to produce a premium, dense balsamic vinegar. In just a few years this has become very successful both in Italy and abroad.

2) Can you please explain to us what is the main difference between ordinary wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar?

Wine vinegar is made from wine whilst balsamic vinegar contains grape must or aged pressed grapes, which is actually the most important ingredient to obtain a quality balsamic vinegar, giving the sweetness to the product balancing the acidity of the wine vinegar. Due Vittorie only uses cooked high quality grape must, which makes the product sweet and pleasant to taste, as well as very versatile in the kitchen.

3) Your vinegar is used by top chefs all over the world and it is number one in Italy, this is something to be really proud of. What do you think makes your product so good?

We’re very proud of our achievements. It’s the  unique taste of Due Vittorie Oro and the high quality of the product that makes our Balsamic really special. When tasting, there’s a real ‘wow’ factor and we’re delighted to have such a growing number of loyal fans.

4) What is the minimum resting time that the cooked must needs in order to obtain a good quality balsamic vinegar?

The IGP certification regulation requires that the product remains for a minimum of 2 months in wooden barrels. In case of an IGP, the quality of the ingredients are also very important and really make the difference in the products. Our Due Vittorie Oro is  unique compared to the competition. A very tasty, sweet, versatile product for any type of dish. If the consumer is searching a more niche and refined product, our Tradizionale Affinato is the perfect choice. This product is aged for a minimum of 12 years in small wooden barrels and it is made only of cooked must, providing a very dense and syrupy consistency, mostly suitable for hard cheeses and cakes or ice cream.

5) After buying the vinegar where is the best place to store it?

You should store your balsamic in a cool, dark place.

6) How long does balsamic vinegar last? Does it always maintain well its aroma?

There is no expiry for a good balsamic vinegar, it should  always keep its taste and aroma.

7) I have seen people adding a touch of balsamic vinegar to their water for a refreshing beverage, would you recommend that? Which types of meat better suit the addition of this vinegar?

If your palate likes fresh water with a hint of sweet balsamic vinegar, why not? I often add it to many dishes and will definitely try it with  water tonight. As concerns meat, it really suits any type of meat. I like to add it to chicken (sometimes instead of soya sauce) and to any red meat, including a beef steak or fillet.

Balsamic Vinegar
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12 Responses to Balsamic vinegar: an interview with producer Giacomo Cinelli

  1. gloria

    This is a nice post Alida!
    Bacio!

    • Alida

      Grazie cara!

  2. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    I love when you do interviews…This is an outstanding post on Balsamic Vinegar. I always use Balsamic vinegar for my dressings in salads. I think you know my friend Micheal Castaldo *the singer), well his family in Calabria, Italy owns a vineyard and they make Extra Virgin Olive oil as well as Balsamic Vinegar, but not to put on salads. The Balsamic is thick (syrup) and used a drop at a time to enhance a desert, like ice cream and a pastry. He sent me some and I love it over dessert, plus the Extra Olive Oil. We don’t realise how much work really goes into these products. Great post outstanding…
    Have a great weekend with your family…
    Hugs x Dottie 🙂

    • Alida

      I didn’t either! I had no idea it took so long to produce balsamic and neither did I know it was so good! I love the idea of adding it to ice cream..mmm. I am just about to create a recipe with balsamic. Ciao Dottie x

  3. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    Fascinating post! I have a real love affair with good Balsamic at the moment and always get the best I can afford. But I had never really understood how it is produced….. so thank you!

    • Alida

      I am pleased you like the post Kate x

  4. Elisabetta

    Lovely post Alida. I still have a bottle of real balsamic vinegar which I bought in a tenuta in Chianti. It is far superior than those found at cheaper prices in supermarkets. I just love it and one of my favourite ways to enjoy it is to sprinkle it over smallish chunks of parmigiano – yummy!

    • Alida

      You are right, parmigiano seems to be the best cheese to pair with balsamic.It is incredibly moreish though.

  5. la cucina di Molly

    Adoro l’aceto balsamico di qualità, in effetti si nota la differenza tra un aceto doc e quello che si trova sugli scaffali dei supermercati a costo basso! Interessante questo post! Un abbraccio!

  6. Ishita

    Very interesting … So wonderful to chance upon your blog ….

    I blog on Italy too. Just came from a recent trip from Italy. Hope you like to read my posts 🙂 Blog link- ishitasood.blogspot.in

  7. Gabrielle

    Hi we would like to buy Due Vittorie Balsamic vinegar of Modena in Holland ( Netherlands). We like it very much! Do you know where we can buy this in Holland?

    Thank you very much.

    Kind regards Gabrielle Tulling

    • Alida

      Hi Gabrielle, the best way is to buy it online. Look for Due Vittorie balsamic vinegar on amazon.com. You can buy it there.

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