Commercial grade products found in large grocery stores imitate the traditional product. They are made of wine vinegar with the addition of coloring, caramel and sometimes thickeners like guar gum or corn flour to artificially simulate the sweetness and thickness of the aged Aceto Balsamic Tradizionale di Modena.There is no aging involved and hundreds of thousands of liters can be produced EVERY DAY!
Traditional Balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically, Trebbiano grapes) boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavors. The flavor intensifies over the years, with the vinegar being stored in wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentrated . During this period, a portion evaporates: it is said that this is the “angels’ share, a term also used in the production of scotch whiskey, wine and other alcoholic beverages.
None of the product may be withdrawn until the end of the minimum aging period of 12 years. At the end of the aging period (12,18, or 25 years) a small portion is drawn from the smallest cask and each cask is then topped off with with the contents of the preceding (next larger) cask. Freshly reduced cooked must is added to the largest cask and in every subsequent year the drawing and topping up process is repeated. This process where the product is distributed from the oldest cask and then refilled from the next oldest vintage cask is called solara or in perpetuum.
Olive Fusion’s Balsamic is Certified from Modena Italy, the Traditional process without caramel colors, thickeners or sugar added! The caloric count is 10 calories or 3 grams of natural sugar per tablespoon.