I’ve always been fascinated by those people who talk with such enthusiasm and energy about things they love and do and this is exactly what Romano Boni, owner of the Acetaia Boni, does while explaining us his amazing product(s) : The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO of Acetaia Boni.
The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is an aromatic aged vinegar made with only ONE ingredients : cooked grape must, mostly Trebbiano, Lambruschi, Pergola and Berzemino. Its color is dark brown, the texture is dense and rich, and the taste sweet and sour. It reaches the finest grades after being aged in successive casks made with different woods as oak, mulberry, chestnut, cherry, juniper and ash wood. The abbreviation “PDO” means that it has gained the Protected Designation of Origin status, and is aged for 12 to 25 years. A cheaper version denominated only “aceto balsamico di Modena” (balsamic vinegar of Modena) is available worldwide and it’s typically made with concentrated grape juice mixed with a strong vinegar, then coloured and sweetened with caramel and sugar. Another key feature of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is that it only comes packaged in a unique bottle for all the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar producers designed by the Italian designer Giugiaro. All bottles of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena are sealed with a serial number for traceability, the manufacturer’s label and the back label of the consortium. The two types (12 years old aged and 25 years old aged) are differentiated by the color of the cap of the bottle : red for 12 years and gold for 25 years.“Acetaia” is the place where the battery of casks are preserved and Acetaia Boni is a century-old Acetaia, located in Solignano di Castelvetro, a small rural village near Modena (Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy). As soon as you enter the Acetaia Boni, Romano welcomes you with a beautiful smile and makes you feel at home.
One cannot understand well the history of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena without knowing the figure of the REZDORA, the woman who used to run the house in Emilia-Romagna region . She was cooking, cleaning and, above all. she was in charge of the “acetaie”, wooden barrels used to age the vinegar, often received in dowry or activated on the birth of a son or daughter. Above the biggest barrel of the battery you can see a cloth embroidered with the name the of the “rezdora” who took care of the vinegar.
The Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena must be cooked in boilers and matured by a long acetification through natural fermentation followed by progressive concentration by aging in a series of casks made from different types of wood and without the addition of any other flavorings.
The experience of the 12, 25 and 50 years old aged Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Boni tasting is absolutely a “once in your life” thing to do. The vinegar-tasting consists in putting a couple of drops in the mouth, chew it for a couple of seconds then slowly swallow and feel the “magic” of the balsamic vinegar going through the throat. The older the better.
The Acetaia Boni is also home of a permanent exhibition of tools representing life in the countryside such as wooden boards, pans, kitchen tools, farm tools…
…and TRAGNI, the final recipients of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena before it ended on the tables to perfume the best foods of Modena, or to cure the sick.
…and ancient books, documents and manuscripts that document the presence of balsamic vinegar since 1700, used as a remedy to relieve cough and sore throat.
This beautiful journey ended up with a delicious buffet made with traditional products from Modena and surroundings such as salame, ciccioli, Parmigiano Reggiano PDO and a very special treat, custard Ice-cream drizzled with a couples of drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Boni….absolutely delicious!!!
Other than Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O., Acetaia Boni offers homemade honey-vinegar, jams, liqueurs, distillates and Saba (an ancient natural sweetener obtained by cooking the grape).
If you are planning to stay overnight before or after visiting Acetaia Boni, I warmly recommend to stay and dine at Locanda del Feudo, a Charm & Relax Inn with a fine-dining restaurant on the hilltop of Castelvetro di Modena, a picturesque medieval village near Modena.
A very special thanks to Romano Boni for sharing with us all the love and passion of his Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Of Modena PDO and for the amazing vinegar-tasting, as well.
And a huge thanks to Maurizio OttO” De Togni – BreadLoveAndDreams.com for these beautiful pictures.