First memory of balsamico?
Haha, the same as every other Italian child. In Italy, balsamic vinegar is the best method for children to eat their vegetables. My first memory is my Grandmother putting on vegetables to get me to eat them. It was the same when I became a father, my son, even now he’s a teenager, only eats vegetables with balsamico.
Italians have a special relationship with food i.e. food is religion – what can you tell us about that?
Italia is food. They are entwined. It’s important to know that every town has a different plate, even if they are just 20km apart, each town will have, different land, different plants, different ideas on how to do things. For example, Modena’s tortellini is different to Bologna tortellini, and they are only a few km away. I think this is the power of Italia.
How do people use balsamic vinegar in Modena?
With every meal, of every kind. Each plate has different needs, for example a green salad doesn’t need a high density, aged balsamic. With meat, fish, cheese or ice cream, you need high density. Each meal needs a different quality of balsamico.
How did you learn to make balsamico?
My family produced its own balsamic, a little battery in the attic at home. We just made it for ourselves, using the same methods that people used for 100s of years. The only changes in the product were in the smells of the wood. It wasn’t really on a big scale.
Do people still have batteries in the home?
Less so. With the financial crisis, a lot of families were selling batteries to have more room in the house; more room to live, or to rent out, maybe on AirBnB.
Is that a bad thing? What’s the future of the balsamic tradition?
Lots of very little companies are being started by the young generation. 18 to 20 year olds, straight out of school are starting little farms making balsamico and wine. Of course, they are not ready. They to wait need years and years! But it is a trend, in the way that craft beer is a trend. The future is bright.