The true “balsamic” vinegar
In America we’re accustomed to using supermarket-brand “balsamic vinegar” from Modena and Reggio Emilia (in the region of Emilia-Romagna) in our salad dressing (as well as other dishes). While many of the commercial brands available in the U.S. market are good to high quality, they are a far cry from European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena” (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena).
The real stuff, which must be aged “for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes,” can be extremely pricey.
But the payoff is on the palate. Traditionally, it’s served sparingly, a drop or two on a shard of Parmigiano Reggiano.