Whether Aldi, Rewe, Lidl or any other discounter or supermarket: Balsamic vinegar is already available for a few euros – but elsewhere, Aceto Balsamico di Modena quickly costs 100 euros and more. Three letters bring light into the darkness – and make the difference between quality and cheap products.
The one from Italy Balsamic vinegar of Modena is very popular in Germany. Such a balsamic vinegar is made by boiling down thickened must. Above all, grape must is used as a base, which is first fermented into alcohol and then into vinegar.
But Aceto Balsamico di Modena is not just Aceto Balsamico di Modena. You can usually find balsamic vinegars with the label at discounters such as Aldi and Lidl or in the Edeka supermarket Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI on offer. In addition, however, is also in trade Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO. offered. What many consumers do not know: the latter is the much higher quality, but also much more expensive product. And there is even a special EU regulation for both “varieties”. The price and quality differences are sometimes huge.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena: IGP and DOP
In addition to the traditional addition, the two abbreviations make up the Aceto Balsamico di Modena I.G.P. and D.O.P. the difference: I.G.P. stands for “Indicazione Geografica Protetta” and indicates a legally protected geographical origin. However, the requirements for use are significantly lower than for the designation D.O.P. (Denominazione d “Origine Protetta”, which also shows a protected geographical origin. This also applies to other Italian products from a certain region of origin – for example the famous “Parmesan cheese” Parmigiano Reggiano or Parma ham.
Back to the balsamic vinegar: The cheaper Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP from the supermarket is a mix of at least 20% grape must and Wine vinegar. The acid content must be at least six percent. Caramel (E150), for example, may also be used for coloring. In order for the vinegar to bear its name, at least one production step must have taken place in the Modena region. Whether the grapes used come from there or from another region of the world and where the vinegar was bottled does not play a necessary role in the name.
With the significantly more expensive Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP, the EU regulation regulates everything about the origin, production and raw materials. The EU guidelines also specify how the balsamic vinegar has to be bottled and labeled. It is imperative, for example, that as a preliminary stage pure vinegar made from grape must is used. And in contrast to IGP, with DOP all production steps must take place in the region and the raw materials used also come from there. In addition, they may only be put on the market after 12 years of ripening or aging.
Balsamic vinegars tested at ÖKO-TEST
So there are reasons why the cheap Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP is called typical supermarket vinegar and the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP is revered as the king of (balsamic) vinegars. In terms of taste and quality, the two are worlds apart. That goes for the price too: while you’re in between for a good cheaper “supermarket vinegar” five and six euros for 100ml a traditional can do more than 100 Euro pro 100ml costs.
But can cheap balsamic vinegar taste good too? The ÖKO-TEST testers have in the Edition 07/2021 put the test to the test. They examined ten representatives of the Aceto Balsamico di Modena variety and its counterpart, the Condimento Bianco, not only for ingredients and quality, but also for their taste. The test field included both very cheap products (0.99 euros per 500ml) from discounters such as Penny, Lidl and Aldi as well as more expensive products with up to 31.98 euros per 500ml.
The test winners in terms of taste and quality included the following balsamic vinegars:
- Giuseppe Cremonini Balsamic Vinegar of Modena gereift IGP (31.98 Euro per 500ml)
- Campo Verde White Condiment (12.78 Euro per 500ml)
Would you like to find out more about the test? We have the most important results in this report summarized for you.
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