Donna e Aceto Balsamico? Una lunga storia d'amore

Woman and Balsamic Vinegar? A long love story

Since ancient times, vinegar has left traces of itself in the history of all times, but it is not always underlined what a fundamental role women have had in the use of this product, as modest as it is indispensable in gastronomy, medicine and also in beauty care.

And Boaz said to Rhut: " When it is time to eat, come hither and eat some bread and dip your morsels in vinegar", the Bible quotes referring to an ancient Jewish custom.

In ancient Greece, Spartan women cooked the "Spartan soup", a daily and common dish which consisted of well-pounded, salted and abundantly seasoned meat with vinegar , the same one they used to treat their men's war wounds.

It is said that Cleopatra, to win a bet and demonstrate her power, dissolved the precious pearl she wore as a pendant in vinegar , she will then offer this aphrodisiac drink to her lover Marco Antonio.

Virgil, in his Georgics , describes a peasant house in the Emilia area in this way: “ it is autumn… the woman sits at the loom, weaves and sings or cooks the must, the sweet juice, on the fire carefully removing the foam from the liquid with a branch bubbling over the cauldron ”.

Caterina de' Medici recommended a vinegar-based decoction with miraculous properties for toothache .

From the 9th century it became customary to equip the gifts of young Reggio brides with vases of balsamic vinegar and small barrels for its refinement over the years, a custom still rooted today in the Reggio tradition.

And again, during the Second World War, the women of Reggio used balsamic vinegar as a bargaining chip to survive the poverty of the countryside during those terrible years.

There are many stories, handed down to the present day, which give the woman credit for having intuited the possibility of acidification, to the point of making Balsamic Vinegar the prince of condiments, and more…

In the attic of the house, an undisputed kingdom dominated by women, where things no longer used were collected, the Balsamic Vinegar was kept and left to age… 

“So the ritual began. Helped by the other women of the house, my mother, the youngest, had the task of pressing: we passed away, away to boiling the must in the large copper boilers, filtering it... the whole kitchen, for days, was upset, but the very strict, hypercritical and habitual grandfather did not open his mouth, he endured in silence, since that was a period of interregnum in which women really dictated the law! In those days, however, the feverish activity stopped, as if by magic, at the door of the vinegar room, beyond that threshold only the grandmother and a profound silence .

(from Renato Bergonzini's Women and Vinegar ) 

Therefore, in the production of Balsamic Vinegar, women have always played a decisive role, just think that in the Acetaia, even today, the term "put to nurse" is used every time a new vessel, like a new born, is placed next to in the old vinegar cellar to the oldest and most mature barrel.

Balsamic Vinegar is not only an exceptional product, but for every family and historical manufacturing company it represents a gift , a symbol of good omen, so that tradition is preserved for a long time, with passion, dedication and love.

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