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Make Sure You’re Buying The Real Thing – Shopping Tips For Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

With the holidays upon us, you may have butter and gravy on the table.  Why not add a bottle of traditional balsamic vinegar?  A few drops of balsamic adds a burst of flavor to any dish, and I love it drizzled on vegetables, especially roasted Brussels sprouts, and a drop on pumpkin pie would be fantastic.  Balsamic vinegar also makes a great gift for the foodie on your list. When you go to buy that vinegar, how do you know what to buy?  Facing supermarket shelves of balsamic vinegar is overwhelming.  I mean, where do you start?  On a recent visit to Acetaia Leonardi, an authentic, traditional balsamic vinegar producer in Italy, I learned what it takes to make this handcrafted, artisan product.  If you want to get a true traditional balsamic vinegar, an Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena D.O.P., handcrafted by a producer such as Leonardi, there are a few tips to guide…

A Visit to Leonardi Balsamic Vinegar Farm

“We are proud of our vinegar.”  Federica Gibellini is leading me and my husband on a tour of the Acetaia Leonardi balsamic vinegar farm.  Leonardi is a family owned balsamic maker in Magreta, Italy in the area surrounding Modena, home to traditional balsamic vinegar production.  It’s in the Emilia-Romagna region, also known for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Proscuitto di Parma.  The Leonardi family established their business in 1871 and since then their vinegars have become not just well-regarded but famous too, being the choice of royalty, even served at Kate and William’s wedding. Unlike many balsamic vinegar makers Leondari is a “closed cycle” farm, meaning they grow and tend their own grapes, harvest, ferment, age, bottle and sell the balsamic vinegar all on their own property.  That’s an important distinction in the quality and flavor of their vinegar. “We are four generations who produce this special vinegar,” says Federica.  She’s…