The Story of a Tradition – The Acetaia Malagoli Daniele

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Imagine investing money, energy, time and patience for twelve years to get a single drop of something known in Modena, Italy as “Oro Nero” ….  “Black Gold”.  Traditional Balsamic Vinegar must be aged for a minimum of 12 years before you can call it “Traditional”, a word said proudly by Sofia Malagoli, of the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele.

 

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Before visiting the Acetaia, I had never really reflected on the word tradition and what it means. In Italy, there are so many “traditions” in every aspect of life.  Much in the same way an artisan passes down his craft to his children, the craft of making Balsamic Vinegar begins in one generation and lasts for many.

 

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The Story of a Tradition – The Acetaia Malagoli Daniele

Daniele Malagoli is an Engineer and a man with many passions.  A travel lover, a citrus gardener, a collector of beautiful things and an aficionado of Balsamic Vinegar. Walking through his beautiful home, an antique barn and country house that he and his wife completely renovated to become one of the most breathtaking in the area, you quickly note his passions.

 

 

 

From the solarium filled with lemon trees to the entrance adorned with antiques, the most noteworthy of his “collections” is in the attic of the house, where you will find one of the largest  “batterie” of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar producing barrels in the entire world.

 

 

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In the 90s, he and his wife Barbara Piccinnini, owned a hotel that they managed in the area.  High school sweethearts, they longed for a family, yet after over a decade of fertility treatments and several miscarriages they had accepted the fact that their family would remain in two.  At that point Sig. Malagoli had already started dabbling in his passion of creating Balsamic Vinegar by buying a “Batteria” (collection) of barrels.

 

Although he would have loved to expand his collection, he was faced with the thought that there would be no one to leave it to, and then a miracle happened.  After almost 15 years of trying to conceive, the couple had a successful pregnancy and Sofia Malagoli was born.

 

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La Batteria

It is a little known fact that in this part of Italy it is an ancient custom for well-off families to give their sons a house as a dowry and their daughters a “batteria” for Balsamic Vinegar!  Not long after Sofia’s birth, her mother Barbara was pregnant again with her sister!  One of the special characteristics of the Malagoli collection is that every Batteria is a double!  Two of each size barrel in a set, one for each girl!

 

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The word “Batteria” in Italian, when referring to Balsamic Vinegar,  refers to the collection of barrels “le botti” used in the aging process.  From the large “Botta Madre”, or Mother Barrel, to the final smallest barrel, where after 12 long years, a producer is finally able to extract a small quantity of Balsamic Vinegar that they can finally call “traditional”.

 

In fact, in order to be considered TRADITIONAL Balsamic Vinegar it MUST be aged a minimum of 12 years, which means at least 12 “botti”, must be in the “Batteria”.  In Italy, there is a regulating body that controls all aspects of production and quality and certifies Traditional Balsamic Vinegar to be D.O.P. (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta – Products of a Protected Origin). Each certified bottle receives a numbered label that guarantees origin, production and taste!

Only after a Balsamic Vinegar producer has passed all of the regulation tests, are they allowed to bottle their product in a special 100ml bottle, designed by Giugiaro and reserved for the TRADITIONAL product.  A red seal is used for Traditional Balsamic Vinegar aged between 12 and 25 years and a gold seal for that aged between 25 and 45 years!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar – Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

 

Considering the process it takes to get a single 100 ml bottle of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar D.O.P., it is no wonder that they call it “Black Gold”!  Many people do not realize that white grapesare usedin the creation of Balsamic Vinegar!  Absolutely nothing is added to the grape must to get this deep “ruby red” color, it is a completely natural change that occurs as a result of the caramelization, fermentation and aging process.   After the vintage the must is slow cooked for 30 hours, and the final color is achieved during the 12 – 45 year aging process in barrels of different woods from Cherry to Rover and Mulberry wood, each lending the vinegar a different characteristic.

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Sofia lead me into their vineyards to watch as the vines were being pruned for next season.  The Acetaia Malagoli Daniele hand picks all of their grapes at the very end of the season, when the grapes are their ripest and sweetest. They are passed directly into a press, and then into a stainless steal pot where they are slowly cooked for 30 hours.  Sig. Malagoli checks on the “mosto cotto”, cooked grape must, every hour until it has achieved the right percentage of sugars.

Sofia reminds me that this is an ancient process, with references to “mosto cotto” going back to Virgil in the 1st century B.C.  In fact, as part of their personal collection the Malagoli family has a bottle from the 1100’s of Balsamic Vinegar with the cork still in tact!  After 2,000 years I would say “tradition” is an understatement!

 

 

 

One of the things I found fascinating about Balsamic Vinegar was how necessary it is for the vinegar itself to feel all temperature changes in each season.  It must be kept in the attic and it is only created in a certain region of Italy known for its real “four seasons”.  In Modena we have a humid, hot summer, a damp spring and a chilly fall all perfect for a balanced fermentation process.  Barrels are placed on their side and each barrel has an opening so that it can fully “breathe”.

 

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Every barrel is 80% full and each year vinegar is taken from the largest barrel, “la botte madre” and added to the one beside it, like this, after 12 years all barrels have Balsamic Vinegar in them, and finally some can be removed from the smallest barrel for bottling.  New cooked must is only added to the mother barrel and never to the others, and the transferring of balsamic vinegar from one barrel to another only occurs in the winter, once the enzyme process has stopped.

 

The Balsamic Vinegar Process. Sourced from https://chefitalianinelmondo.files.wordpress.com

 

Spending the late afternoon with the Malagoli family was a wonderful experience.  It is incredible to think that these types of ancient traditions have survived over thousands of years and are still a real part of every day life in a territory full of heritage.

 

About the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele

 

The Acetaia Malagoli Daniele has only begun commercializing their Traditional Balsamic Vinegar over the last three years under the direction of Sofia Malagoli, read about her and her inspiring story to transform her family’s passion here.

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Their products are available throughout Italy and by direct order, you can also contact them for wholesale and import / export inquiries. The Malagoli family invites visitors to arrange for a private appointment to visit the Acetaia, and if you are in the area I highly recommend you pay them a visit.  I plan on visiting again during the harvest, where volunteers are welcome.  One of my absolute favorite experiences was participating in a vintage last year with my son, you can read about the experience here.

 

The Acetaia Malagoli Daniele is also available for private events and functions.  I’ve mentioned before that people often wonder about the connection between fashion and these types of stories that seem to have nothing in common.  In reality, they are very closely connected and the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele has hosted several fashion shows and fashion related events onsite.  Later this month I will be attending a private cocktail and brand launch hosted in their beautiful restored home and I can’t wait to share it with you!

 

Visiting & Info

 

Acetaia Malagoli Daniele

http://acetaiamalagoli.jimdo.com/

Via Celeste 9, Castelfranco Eimilia (Modena), Italy

+39 338 2640322

+39 059 927246

acetaiamalagoli@gmail.com

 

For a guided tour and visit and to purchase directly or via wholesale please contact Sofia Malagoli +39 338 2640322

You can also find the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele on Facebook and Instagram!


View Larger Map

 

A Balsamic Inspired Giveaway

 

Please do not forget to enter this luxury giveaway for a Balsamic Vinegar inspired prize package featuring a 100 ml bottle of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar D.O.P. by the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele along with a 3 piece jewellery set created in Murano Glass, inspired by the slow and long decent of a drop of balsamic vinegar.  From the “Mutina” collection created by Susanna Martini, Murano glass jewellery artisan and owner of the boutique La Gioja in the centre of Modena.  Read an interview with Susanna, part of HAND MADE – The Artisan Series on Reasons to Dress here.

 

 

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This set is valued at 195 Euro ($212) and this giveaway is open internationally, until April 6, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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  • Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom

    What a great giveaway! I would love to try this balsamic vinegar in a salad or on bread!

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    • Good Luck Carrie! This vinegar is so THICK, it is much more like molasses. Here you usually use “table quality” balsamic vinegar as salad dressing and reserve this stuff , (which when imported in the United States would probably cost around $70 a BOTTLE!!!!), more as a complimentary condiment. For example just a few drops in a recipe would change the whole taste, or a few drops on fresh strawberries on on vanilla ice cream is INCREDIBLE. I love just a few drops on aged parmigiano reggiano cheese or even on a steak!!

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      • faye bible

        I have never tasted balsamic vinegar sounds wonderful and I would love to try it.

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  • Jill

    Great giveaway! I am really enjoying your blog.

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  • 12-25 years!? Whoa! I’m super interested in reading the interview!

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  • I haven’t tasted balsamic vinegar from Modena before. Very cool giveaway!

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    • This stuff is crazy good but once you start you can’t stop. When my father in law had me taste the real thing for the first time I consumed his entire bottle (it was worth something like 150 EURO!!!!) in a week. He was too polite to tell me to STOP, and I had no idea what it actually cost!

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  • Pingback: Luxury Giftpack with 3-Piece Murano Glass Jewelry Set and Bottle of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Giveaway - Giveaway Promote()

  • Neha Kaul

    Such a fantastic giveaway! I have tasted the stuff and it is finger lickin’ goooooood. Now that you’ve brought it up, I’m craving it oh so much!

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  • anatpk

    never yet

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  • Morgana DeLarge

    Yes, it’s delicious! Thanks for this awesome giveaway! 🙂

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  • Baldo Sanfilippo

    liked and shared

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  • Felicity Smith

    amazing giveaway – never tried this vinegar, would love to though :):)

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  • Barbara A Langley

    Its a super price,I have not trued it though.

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  • BaileyDexter

    I have never tasted real traditional Balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy. I love the prize pack, what a great way to try new products!!!!

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  • Maria do Carmo Sarmento

    I have indeed tried it here in Portugal and I just love it! It tastes amazingly!

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  • Dreena

    Yes, I’ve tasted it. I only buy very good quality balsamico from the Italian store.
    Cheers.

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  • Lindsey

    What a unique giveaway. I am used to the North American stuff so I would love to try this. And the jewelry is beautiful.

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  • Lisa Williams

    I have never tried balsamic vinegar from Italy and I want to so much it sounds delicious! I love this giveaway ,the jewelry is lovely and uniquely beautiful.

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  • Lisa

    I haven’t tasted balsamic vinegar from Modena before, but I would love to!

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  • Lana Bradstream

    I have never tasted balsamic vinegar from Italy. This is a wonderful giveaway!

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  • M.Clark

    I have never tasted real traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, Italy. This looks like a wonderful prize, I’d love to try it.

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  • Dale N
  • Susan Vieno Stirling

    I have tried it and I love it! I love a little balsamic with some light olive oil and a nice crusty bread! Yearn to go back to Italy, but when I eat this, at least I can travel in my head!

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  • Maegan Morin

    I have never tried a traditional Balsamic but omg i bet it would make recipes even better! What an amazing giveaway!

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  • Lerb

    Would love to win these prizes! The jewellery looks gorgeous and the vinegar sounds yummy!

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  • mberlin1967

    I’ve never had the opportunity but I bet it is amazing. Thank you for the opportunity to try and win.

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  • Edmond Leung

    WOW, I luv ur blog. Divine. Wow, prize gift pack is fab. &
    splendid. 2 fingers snap. It is tight, fly & off the chain. Thank you
    for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity. Pick me, pick me!

    View Comment
  • Verena

    I’ve never tried it but I’d love to! It looks delicious.

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  • Danielle

    I love balsamic and there’s definitely a difference between the the cheap stuff and real, aged balsamic.

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  • Benjamin Kendall

    yes it is delicious

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  • Darla Shannon

    I have not tried it. This gift looks great!

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  • Teresa Criddle

    No I have not but I would be honored to win some !!

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  • OOO! Thank you so much! I love that this giveaway is international! I’m from Singapore. =P Especially since I love balsamic vinegar. If I’m lucky enough to win this giveaway, I never do so it’ll be my first, I’ll definitely have to send my thanks and love to Austin for creating the Blog Pitch Party. Oh and I’m soooo looking forward to reading about how balasamic vinegar is made!

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  • Janice Christensen-Dean

    Thanks for sharing the article! I learned a lot about balsamic vinegar!

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  • Coline T.

    I haven’t tasted balsamic vinegar from Modena but that sounds delicious! 😀

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  • Mai Tran

    The post is truly eye-opening to me. I think making traditional balsamic vinegar includes cooking of the grape must, alcoholic fermentation by yeasts, acetic oxidation by acetic acid bacteria, and slow aging within a barrel set.

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  • Jennifer Heintz

    I did not realize so much went into the process. Also, I was surprised at how long it had to age. Twenty five years for the gold label! And, I never really knew there was such a difference in quality. Thanks for leading me to this article.

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  • I was fascinated by the ‘story’ behind Aceto Balsamico which is a staple in my kitchen. I’ve read out load this to Matt – NOW we both wanna visit..gosh! my visiting list to Modena is getting longer by the day!

    I learn something new by every post you publish. Thank you for sharing with us readers all about the Bella Italia and it’s traditions….

    And now I want to win!!!! I could even come and pick it up in person:) That would be an excuse to come & visit sooner.

    PS: Was there a winner for the RuckSack Giveaway or is it still running?

    View Comment
  • Michelle H.

    I had no idea what was involved in making it. This was very informative! Michelle H.

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  • Rust

    Wow! Very informative! Loved the pics and article, and learning about how balsamic vinegar is made.

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  • golden storm

    how amazing i didnt know it took this much effort and time to make this

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  • Annette

    What a beautiful post. I had no idea that it took that long to age balsamic vinegar nor did I know it’s made with white grapes. Thank you for the tutorial.

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  • ksmartbl

    I had no idea what all was involved in making balsamic vinegar!

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  • Kimberly Camille Tiu

    enjoyed the article!

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  • Noreen

    I had no idea how much time went to the whole process, wow

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  • Mindy Bel

    Thanks for the great giveaway!
    I really liked the article, I had no idea there is such a process for creating a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar!

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  • sohamolina

    I had no idea about the process.

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  • Hanna

    I had no idea what a process it is to create balsamic vinegar, and I use it every day! I love vinegar so much- thank you for this peek behind the curtain!

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  • Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard

    I had no idea what was involved in making vinnegar

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  • Kayte CookWatts

    No, I had no idea– and after your description above of it being thick as molasses, I want to taste it even more! It’s my favorite way to dress a salad and using something of such high quality would be a thrill!

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  • Angela Cash

    I enjoyed the article – thank you for the information. I also enjoy Balsamic Vinegar but I had no idea that the traditional creation process was so involved. Fascinating!

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  • Gi.

    ciao cara Angie, scusa se non mi sono fatta viva prima, ma sono sempre presa da mille cose…ora però non ti mollo più e userò il tuo blog per imparare un po’ l’inglese…..se devo essere sincera speravo scrivessi in francese! con angela non ci siamo più viste, spero di incontrarti presto, se ti va passa da me e lasciami un commento!
    baci Gina

    http://f-lover-fashion-blog.blogspot.it/

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  • I somehow have never thought of what went into making vinegar – the process is fascinating! I’d love to see it firsthand.

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  • kathy cassinelli

    This is wonderful. I would really enjoy this. What a great story.

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  • kristi m

    i have never tasted traditional balsamic vinegar before, and i had no idea how it was made and that it was aged for 12 years !! crazy, kinda like wine .

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  • kelsey harper

    So interesting! and very unique I would love to try it!

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  • truckerofbc

    I did enjoy it and I didnt know it was such a process

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  • Ruth Griffeth

    I love Italian Balsamic Vinegar, but I had no idea what went in to making it. I would LOVE to be able to get hold of some of these!

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  • jenni104

    I loved this and had no idea the story behind vinegars. It amazes me about the history and how much there is to learn about everything, even if it seems mundane or simple, there is probably an amazing story behind it. I have never really tried vinegars, but now I am going to open myself up to learning more about it and trying different kinds. Thank you.

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  • I´ve never tried a ¨traditional¨one, I would love to try it. Thanks for sharing , I learned something new.

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  • arra carrasco-odeza

    honestly its rare for me and my family to use balsamic vinegar because its kinda pricey. it would be nice to try the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar D.O.P. by the Acetaia Malagoli Daniele. the process in making the vinegar is pretty interesting 🙂

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  • Debbie Snell

    I thought the article was very informative and interesting. Hubby loves balsamic vinegar and we use it from frying onions to give a delicious taste to salad dressings and stir fries and marinades I did not know what was invilved in making balsamic till now thanks for sharing

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  • Linda W.

    Interesting article. I really didn’t know much about balsamic vinegar up until this point. I love the stuff!

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  • Louise

    I love balsamic vinegar and i often use it as a spread on bread but i had no idea how it was made. After reading this, i am realising that the vinegar that i have been eating cannot be made traditionally as it is not expensive enough to have taken over 12 years to make so i would love to try what traditional balsamic vinegar actually tastes like

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  • Marie burn

    I love thick balsamic vinegar but I had no idea how long it takes for a proper one to be made

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  • This is cool! You never hear about people visiting balsamic vinegar makers, only wine.

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  • julie murphy

    very interesting. I bet that taste good.

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  • Mina Mothra

    My family are balsamic vinegar addicts (best served over tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil!) so I was somewhat familiar with the process- but I loved reading about your tour of the place, and seeing everything up close! Great post!

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  • Surso S.

    wow the process takes a long long time i dont think i could wait for my first batch that long! 🙂 thanks for the giveaway would love to test this stuff out!

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  • Missalex

    Oh my goodness this looks incredible! Vinegar has always been a favorite of mine, especially dipped in bread, as a reduction over strawberries or over a crunchy salad

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  • maleficent mcneff

    wow. I had no idea it takes that much work!!

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  • LynnMackinnon

    That was such an interesting article… so wonderful to read about such a finely crafted food in this era saturated by mass-produced processed foods.

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  • That is was very informative for me. I had no idea so much was involved.

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  • Karin Shaim

    wow! i’ve never tasted balsamic vinegar from Modeana , but it sounds amazing 🙂

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  • lori b

    i had no idea what it took to make this. wow.

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  • Harley QuiEenn

    dev’essere speciale! sarebbe fantastico provarlo!!

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  • Lisa Walker

    I loved the article.Thanks so much for sharing! I had no idea all of the effort involved.

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  • Abigail Fernandez Songco

    now i know that white grapes are used in making balsamic vinegar.. thank you for sharing your experience..

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  • Divya Asha

    This article is very interesting to read. Sorry, I don’t know about the ingredients of vinegar.

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  • Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard

    we love balsamic vinegar – we did in it bread slices – delicious – never appreciated how long it takes 🙂

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