A foodie just learning balsamic’s tasty lineage, I visited one of the many countryside balsamic vinegar producers while in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Modena, Italy.

In Sorbara, as I tasted lively 10- to 50-year-old aged balsamic varietals, balsamic producer Guido Paltrinieri and his family of Acetaia Paltrinieri Balsamico exuberantly explained the traditional production of balsamic, detailing the process of the special casks made of chestnut, oak, juniper, cherry and mulberry woods. The “mother” of each variety stands near the smaller casks, and ceremoniously, balsamics are taken from the mother and placed in the smaller casks to keep the vinegars aging to perfection.

These varietals have no “vinegar” bite because they are made from grape musts – not artificial flavors or added caramel colors. A small drizzle from these aged elixirs on cheeses, fruits and vegetables are as sweet and natural as honeycomb.

Visiting the region of Modena, Italy and experiencing true balsamic vinegars is the perfect pairing for foodies and travelers alike.

A warm welcome awaits at Acetaia Paltrinieri, acetaiapaltrinieri.it.

San Diego ReaderPublished January 2010: sandiegoreader.com
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