Deep into the Emilia Romagna region of Italy there is a beautiful little hamlet called Albinea where a beautiful former fashion house makes the most amazingly delicious balsamic vinegar in the world.
I was lucky enough to meet one of the owners through a friend; an introduction I will forever be grateful for. Cristina met me at the gate. Dressed fashionably, her dark wavy hair elegantly styled and a little bit out of place. Behind the gate was the most beautiful estate. It is her family’s, of course, and like all estates in Italy, a bit rough around the edges. It is a work in progress much like most things precious in Italy. For me, this always makes the location even more charming and alluring. As Cristina walked us around, she lovingly described her childhood here her father, the head of a major Italian fashion brand, and his passion for food and mostly balsamico. His hobby, well his passion, was making the strong syrupy stuff, and as you walk up to the attic where the original kernel of the idea for this brand was born, you can almost feel it. Stuffed into the attic of the main house are the ancient casks of her father’s original recipe. The scent as you climb the stairs hits you in the face with the sweet and sour notes of the vinegar. As Cristina describes the process, you can tell she too has the passion that her father has for the product.
After a very informative talk by Cristina, we headed down the spiral stairs to the very beautifully designed tasting room to taste all the different incarnations of balsamic vinegar. From the mild notes to the heady sweet and syrupy symphony of the most concentrated flavor, we had an education in the aging process and the misconception of how balsamic vinegar is aged for 15 20 or even 40 years. There is a range, and no balsamic can have a printed label that states it’s been aged for a finite number of years, since it is mixed with older batches the aging process is a fluid number.
The grounds are breathtaking, and this year Il Borgo del Balsamico opened a few rooms, so that people can stay and enjoy the entire experience. As you can imagine, the rooms are perfectly appointed, and the service is impeccable. I urge you to make a reservation.
Unfortunately this product is not yet available in the US, so you’ll have to make the journey there. Located right near Bologna and Parma, it is the perfect foodie destination.
Thank you to Cristina and her beautiful family for the amazing tour. Please book my room for next spring I will be back. xxAll Fall Food italian cooking italy Notes from Italy Personal Travel Tuscany Uncategorized : Tags: annette joseph, balsamic, balsamic vinegar, Behind the Scenes, fall, friends, italy