On our big trip to Italy we, of course, also visited places where the world-famous Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is made and even three of the most fabulous places.
First, we visited La Cà dal Nôn, meaning The House of the Grand Father, in Vignola just outside of Modena. What a place, the beautiful buildings had just been thoroughly renovated and looked stunning, for the whole family. Everything at one place, a big family house with a garden, a little shop and of course, the acetaia loft where all the old barrels, of different wood types, where the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is aged in, are placed. The La Cà dal Nôn acetaia was founded in 1883, and today the 5th generation is also working here. We had booked a guided tour in advance and were happy to be accompanied by the most charming lady, Giovanna, who gave us such a personal, lively, interesting, exciting and insightful experience of the family history and making of the different types of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and the other delicious products made here. We will never forget it, and we will never forget Giovanna! You can read much more about La Cà dal Nôn on the website, see the link below where the process of making the real Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is described, it takes loooong, looooong time 🙂 After visiting the fabulous loft with the barrels, we had the opportunity to taste the different products – oooh, you have to try this to believe it. All are so delicious. When you have tried the real thing, you can’t buy the cheap stuff anymore. They also make a delicious SABA, which is made from grapes with the highest sugar content, the grapes are pressed and the juice is cooked in open pots on fire for hours until it is reduced to half the volume. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena as well as SABA is always present in our kitchen.
We also visited the oldest acetaia, Giuseppe Giusti, founded in 1605, yes, that’s over 425 years ago! This is a huge acetaia, including a big museum with a visitors’ centre and a tasting hall with a shop. If you, like us, visit the museum, don’t forget to take all the stairs up to the attic, where some really old barrels are still in operation. We participated in an interesting guided group tour, where we saw all the barrels from the largest (huge) to the smallest at the end of each row, and were informed about the long, long interesting history of Acetaia Giusti. In the attics, 600 barrels from the 1700s and 1800s are still being used to make Balsamic Vinegar of Modena! And, just like by the La Cà dal Nôn, wherever you are, you can smell the fabulous and sweet aroma of ageing balsamico.
Finally, we also visited Acetaia Leonardi, founded in 1871. The modern facilities are situated in the middle of their own 10 hectares of vineyards. The farm includes a restaurant, celebration facilities and a big shop. Here we had also booked a guided group tour which included interesting information about the family history and today’s production of delicious Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. The number of barrels seems endless. Here, each of the batteries/series consists of 9 barrels in decreasing sizes from 180 litres to 10 litres. After the tour, we enjoyed a delicious lunch, of course, accompanied by balsamic vinegar.
Interesting about Leonardi is also the fact that the proof of quality showed when it was served for Prince William and Kate’s Royal Wedding in 2011, and, Monaco’s Royal Chef also comes here to get Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
By the way, as in the first acetaias, as in all acetaias, the barrels are always placed in the attics/lofts. In this way, temperature changes are higher, from warm summers to ice-cold winters, and take advantage of the seasonal winds and humidity changes of the Modena area, which makes the ageing conditions optimal.
By Acetaia Leonardi it is possible to stay for the night for free in your own motor home. We thankfully took advantage of this offer and had a great time close to where it all happened.
Visiting the acetaias was extremely enlightening and fascinating at the same time. It’s almost unbelievable how the grape must transform – with enough patience of the people working in this environment. In many cases, depending on which taste, quality and purpose are desired, it takes at least 12 years, and in most cases at least 25 years, from when the grapes are harvested until the bottles can be filled…….. So, enjoy this liquid black gold with respect.
La Cà dal Nôn: