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Balsamic vinegar

This speciality from the Italian provinces of Modena and Reggio in the region of Emilia-Romagna is also known as balsamic vinegar, although it is not actually conventional vinegar and the production process has been completely different for centuries. Legend has it that the most powerful Italian nobleman at the time, Duke Boniface of Canossa (985-1052), gave the German Emperor Henry IV (1050-1106) a vial on his proverbial walk to Canossa (30 km west of Modena). This cannot be true, however, because the Canossa pilgrimage did not take place until 1077, by which time Boniface was long gone. It is possible, however, that Henry IV became acquainted with balsamic vinegar through Mathilde (1046-1115), Boniface's daughter and successor as ruler. In any case, it is documented that Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519) took a spoonful of balsamic vinegar every day as refreshment for body and soul. The princes of Este first introduced a classification of "Aceto Balsamico" in the mid-16th century.

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Dr. Christa Hanten

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