Balsamic vinegar: a bit of history

The history of balsamic vinegar is profoundly linked to the Modena area and has its origins in a centuries-old tradition. In 2000, this tradition led to the traditional product being awarded the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). In 2009, the European Commission included the condiment made by adding wine vinegar to cooked must in the register of protected geographical indications (PGI). Let’s take a look at the main stages of this condiment, from the past to today.

Traces in Ancient Rome

We all know that balsamic vinegar is of Italian origin, but few of us are aware that the history of this condiment has very ancient origins. In fact, we find some traces of its production and use as early as the Middle Eastern civilisations of the 3rd millennium BC and, above all, during the period of the ancient Romans. It was among the Romans that the cooking of grape must, typical of the production process of balsamic vinegar, was born.

Initially, however, must was not used as a condiment. We find evidence of this use in the first book of Virgil’s Georgics. More specifically, it tells of a woman from the Emilian area who cooked the must and stored it in barrels for later consumption.

At the court of the Estensi

Over the centuries, the ancestor of balsamic has undergone numerous changes. However, the first concrete evidence of a condiment from the Modena area, similar to balsamic vinegar, dates back to the Este family’s move from Ferrara to Modena. In the registers of the Este’s secret cellars, relating to the year 1747, there is mention of this interesting food and wine product.

The Napoleonic invasion and the balsamic vinegar commerce

Until 1796, the year of Napoleon’s invasion, balsamic vinegar was a condiment found only on the tables of the Este dukes. After Napoleon’s arrival in Italy, this product began to be known and sold outside the Duchy of Modena. Producers began to present it at numerous international exhibitions and it was a great success.

The first dynasties of producers of balsamic black gold, which are still part of the Consortium for the Protection of Balsamic Vinegar, date back to the 19th century.


Napoleonic invasion in Modena

Balsamic vinegar today

In 1933, Balsamic vinegar was officially recognised by the Minister of Agriculture Giacomo Acerbo. It was in 1965, however, that the first specification on the “Characteristics of composition and method of preparation of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena” was published in the Official Gazette. Over time, this condiment has become increasingly popular. It has gained greater appreciation year after year.

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from Acetaia Marchi

As we said at the beginning, the diffusion and appreciation of balsamic vinegar over time has led to some very important recognitions. We at Acetaia Marchi are proud of this and for this reason we produce our vinegar by valuing tradition and using top quality grapes. We do not use preservatives or other substances that can alter the authenticity of the condiment. We only offer products that guarantee a unique and unforgettable culinary experience.

Bring the taste of tradition to the table with the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar PDO and the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI produced by Acetaia Marchi. You certainly won’t regret it!