Consumers who love good taste know all too well that the labels of those food products that come from supermarketsor distributors, both locally and internationally, show the most bizarre names especially when they hold the “Made in Italy” certification. In addition to the distorted names that have led to a rise in the annoying phenomenon of Italian sounding (that many institutions are now mobilising against). On such products labels, misleading indications are often given regarding the production of certain foods, their origin or their ingredients.
A Balsamic Related Problem
A phenomenon like this affects (above all) the balsamic vinegar that is typical of the Modena area. Marketed all over the world, this is the product that has had the most rip-offs and namesakes that damage both the producers and consumers. But there is a solution that will ensure that you don’t fall into this trap! The best way to avoid running into these unpleasant situations is to learn as much as possible, both through properly reading labels on the products and through gaining an in-depth knowledge of the relevant law.
This is why we, at Acetaia Mussini, want to make the production of our balsamic vinegar as clear and ‘legible’ as possible, be it in the form of a PGI or a PDO certification mark. So, in addition to a clear indication on the label, we have decided to put pen to paper and tell you everything that there is (and isn’t) in our products so as to deepen our consumers’ knowledge of ingredients and to make them fully aware of our choices. So, let’s get started!
The King of Ingredients: Grape Must
Let’s start with the assumption that the only ingredient used to make the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena (ABTM) or PDO is the must obtained from Modenese grapes, while the balsamic vinegar of Modena (ABM) or PGI is the product of cooked must (also from local grapes) and wine vinegar which are used in different percentages. It is no longer ‘just’ a tradition handed down orally but written and recognised by laws that we strictly adhere to at Acetaia Mussini.
As stated in the Procedural Guidelines for the Production of the Protected Denomination of Origin of ‘Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena’, in fact, ‘the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena must be obtained from the grape must of grapes from vineyards composed wholly or in part of the following vines: Lambrusco (all varieties and clones), Ancellotta, Trebbiano (all varieties and clones), Sauvignon, Sgavetta, Berzemino and Occhio di Gatta.’ The Protection of the Procedural Guidelines of the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI instead states that the Balsamic vinegar of Modena ‘is a product obtained with particular and traditional technology from the grape must obtained from grapes coming from the following vines: Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Trebbiani, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana, Montuni, partially fermented and/or cooked and/or concentrated, with the addition of a share of vinegar that is at least 10 years old. This gives the product its typical organoleptic characteristics and then, add at least 10% of the vinegar obtained from the acetification of only wine’.
The Presence of Sugar
It goes without saying that the raw ingredients used for the production of balsamic vinegar bring with them a good dose of sucrose. But consumers who pay more attention to the label can sleep peacefully: Acetaia Mussini does not add any extra sugar. The intake of balsamic vinegar is very limited (the recommended intake for a balanced daily diet is 10 to 15 ml), which is why this makes our balsamic vinegar perfect for all types of food. In addition to this, we, at Acetaia Mussini, take disciplinary measures very seriously when they say that ‘the addition of any substance’ is forbidden, whether or not it is required by law.
Caramel or No Caramel? That’s the Dilemma!
In this regard, a much-debated subject is that of the use of caramel, which is just the result of cooking the sucrose until it has melted. In spite of the Procedural Guidelines for Production of the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI that states that ‘up to a maximum of 2% of the volume of the finished product is allowed to be caramel for colorimetric stabilisation’. Acetaia Mussini has decided to never use it. The reason is as simple as it is substantial: our production is, in fact, focused on a denser and more aged product for which we do not need to use caramel.