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How to recognize the best balsamic vinegar?




There are simple straightforward ways to recognize good quality balsamic vinegar when standing in a supermarket in front of a dozen different labels.

The secrets we will share below will help you not only recognize the best balsamic vinegar but therefore have available in your kitchen a product of the highest quality that can add that touch of uniqueness to your cooking.

Go for a recognized brand

The world of balsamic vinegar of Modena is full of traditions, family secrets passed from generation to generation, and a deep love for what is considered a national patrimony, the historical production of this dark, syrupy, tart, and at the same time, sweet ingredient. No surprise it’s an Italian product, after all, Italy is well-known for its food.

To make sure you are choosing the best balsamic vinegar of Modena, your best bet is to go for a recognized name, like Acetaia Leonardi. 

This acetaia, which is the name of the place where balsamic vinegar is made, has its own vineyard of typical Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes, but what is more, every step in the production cycle happens in the property, under the guidance of a family that has been making balsamic vinegar of the highest quality for years, and always following the established regulations that guarantee a very balanced final product with incredible flavors, unique perfumes, and the honey-like texture that has enchanted chefs around the world

Look at the bottle and the label

When looking for the best quality balsamic vinegar, there are a few hints that will lead you in the right direction. 

What should the bottle look like? Historically, balsamic vinegar has been presented in glass bottles. As a fun fact, bottles are regulated and can tell a whole lot about the type of balsamic vinegar they hold.

However, it’s the label where all the information you need to recognize the best balsamic vinegar. The real balsamic vinegar is produced in the province of Modena and Reggio Emilia, using grapes from this particular region, like Lambrusco, Ancellotta, Trebbiano, Sauvignon, and Berzemino, among others, and following a strict set of rules and regulations that guarantee the quality of the final product.

On the label, we should avoid being misled by the name of balsamic vinegar of Modena, since many imitations claim that name, we should instead look for the denominations IGP or DOP.  

These denominations mean that the balsamic vinegar we are buying is up to certain standards and guarantee we are using a product that is of the highest quality.


The main difference between these two denominations is in the production process. 

When we are talking about the balsamic vinegar of Modena IGP, we have a product made with grape must from a variety of local grape kinds, like Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana, Montuni. Once the grape must is obtained, a quote of aged balsamic vinegar is added to the mix, and it’s let to age for a minimum of 60 days in wooden barrels, but this time could be longer too.

In the case of the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena DOP, we find grapes as the unique ingredient, with the following varieties as the base of the grape must: Lambrusco, Ancellotta, Trebbiano, Sauvignon, Berzemino, Sgavetta e Occhio di Gatta. In this case, the aging process is a lot longer, with a minimum of 12 years in wooden barrels (commonly known as “affinato”) or also 25 years (which is called “extra vecchio”).


There are a few tips that can help anyone recognize the best balsamic vinegar. Going for quality in such a special and unique product will without a doubt, influence the quality of your cooking, therefore is imperative to choose wisely.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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