Tradizionale Affinato Vinegar
Cooked Grape Must
Affinato balsamic vinegars are extremely high quality tradizionale vinegars made using traditional methods and carefully aged over a decade. They offer tremendous flavor and a luxurious texture that few balsamics can beat. 3.5oz bottles may seem small, but it only takes a little affinato vinegar to make food sing.
Traditional balsamic vinegars are characterized by a flavor that is bright (acidic) yet dense, balanced in both sweet and sour, and richly aromatic. They are a deep dark brown with a smooth, silky texture.
What Makes “Affinato” Vinegar Special
The term “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar” (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale) is not simply a descriptive term for balsamic vinegars that have been traditionally aged in cask, but a tightly controlled standard of quality and indicator of aging. Most balsamic vinegars, even those produced in Modena, are considered commercial (condiment) balsamic vinegars rather than traditional balsamic vinegars.
In order to be Tradizionale vinegars, they must have been aged at least 12 years and passed a series of taste test evaluations overseen by the Consortium of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Those that pass the test are awarded the Affinato label.
There is but one grade higher than Affinato: extravecchio. Extravecchio balsamic vinegar must be aged a minimum of 25 years, and achieve near perfect scores on all the Consortium’s tests.
This balsamic vinegar was traditionally made using a process that involves cooking 100% Modena-grown grapes down into must, slow-aging that must in a series of wooden casks, and finally bottling when the flavor and consistency is just right. Read How Balsamic Vinegars are Made for more information.
Store aged balsamic vinegars in a cool, dry place.
RECIPES & TIPS
Traditional balsamic vinegars are so full flavored that only a few drops are necessary to give depth to a dish. Try drizzling just a little bit onto Parmigiano Reggiano, roasted or grilled vegetables, salad greens (especially bitter greens like Treviso radicchio), bruchetta, sweet fruits (strawberries, figs, apricots, watermelon), and cooked meats or poultry.
To preserve its full flavor, do not cook Affinato balsamic vinegar.