In his poem Vita Mathildis, Donizone – official biographer of the Grand Duchess Matilde – writes that in 1046 the German Emperor Henry III, in his journey to Rome for being coronation, stopped in Piacenza.
Hosted by Bonifacio, Matilde’s father, he asked him to taste a special vinegar, a sort of balsamic elixir of which he had heard so well. In the XI century, the fame of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia PDO had already passed the Alps.
This vinegar requires a long processing, divided into four stages: tapping, filtering, cooking and ageing, the latter carried out in of fine wooden barrels. Top quality vinegars go through 20 different barrels, from the bigger to the smaller ones, from that of 100 liters to that of 10.
Each wood variety adds a particular feature to the product: chestnut gives it dark brown color; cherry sweetens the taste; mulberry makes it thicker; juniper adds strong resins aroma and the oak, the final touch, is the artisan secret.