Milan, the fashion and design capital of Italy, is not only known for its stylish boutiques and trendy cafes but also for its authentic balsamic vinegar.
If you’re a foodie or simply love to explore new flavors, Milan is the perfect place to indulge in the rich and complex taste of balsamic vinegar.
From the oldest acetaia in the world to the traditional Modena method, Milan offers a variety of options for balsamic vinegar enthusiasts.
In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to discover where to buy the best balsamic vinegar in Milan and what makes each store unique.
So, get ready to tantalize your taste buds and explore the world of balsamic vinegar in Milan!
Where To Buy Balsamic Vinegar In Milan?
1. Acetaia Giusti
Founded in 1605, Acetaia Giusti is the oldest acetaia in the world and has recently opened its “experiential gallery” in Milan. This elegant and sophisticated store offers a variety of balsamic vinegars, including the authentic Aceto Balsamico di Modena. Here, you can taste a product of the highest quality of Italian tradition, unique to the world. The store also features 60 secular barrels and ancient objects of vinegar art for a real experience of taste.
2. Boutique de Nigris
Located just a few minutes away from Milan Cathedral, Boutique de Nigris is a historic Milanese store dedicated to balsamic vinegar. Here, you can discover the history, tradition, and production of balsamic vinegar of Modena. The store offers various aged vinegars, those made with fruit pulp and molecular cooking, and even a new truffle line. During your visit, you will be given a balsamic vinegar compote as a gift and receive a 10% discount on any purchases you make.
Produced in a building next to the Laur Olive Mill in Mendoza, Millan brings the Italian know-how to Argentina. This delicious balsamic vinegar is made in the traditional Modena method and harvested with local white wine varietal Ugni Blanc located in the High Altitude Region of Mendoza called Uco Valley. The grapes are harvested by hand and cooked for hours until the ‘must’ is reduced to a thick consistency then aged no less than 1 year in concrete tanks filled with oak staves.
The Oldest Acetaia In The World: Giuseppe Giusti
Giuseppe Giusti is the oldest acetaia in the world, founded in 1605 in Modena, Italy. The company has been producing and exporting its famous and acclaimed balsamic vinegar for centuries, with a mission to contribute to the pleasures of good living and good food. The Giusti family has led the way in the production of exceptional quality balsamic vinegar, gaining all kinds of awards and honors over the centuries. They were the authors of the first documented recipe for balsamic vinegar in 1863 and have won 14 gold medals during their glorious adventures in Belle-Époque Europe. In 1929, they were granted the privilege of displaying the royal coat of arms.
The best Giusti balsamic vinegar is extracted after years of aging and blending with vinegars kept for centuries in the oldest barrels. Conscious of the importance of this heritage, the Giusti family has maintained with care and passion the historic acetaia or vinegar cellar, instrumental in obtaining the famous “Giusti bouquet of aromas”. The company has its seat in a farm on the outskirts of Modena that keeps 600 historical barrels of the 17th and 19th centuries still in operation. Together with the Museo Giusti dedicated to family memory and tasting, the vinegar factory represents the great value and infinite passion of the Giusti family.
Acetaia Giusti chose Milan as a stepping stone to make known to an ever-wider audience the authentic Aceto Balsamico di Modena. The company has recently inaugurated its “experiential gallery” in Via Spadari, a place where customers can make a real sensory trip to discover the long production process of Aceto Balsamico. Thanks to the presence of a real battery of old oak barrels where the aging of balsamic vinegar takes place, visitors can learn about the ancient method of refill and decanting from one barrel to the next, and then proceed to the olfactory examination of the final product, to the evaluation of its color, and finally to tasting.
Traditional Modena Method: Acetaia Malpighi
Acetaia Malpighi is a family-based company that has been producing balsamic vinegar for over five generations. The company is firmly rooted in Modena, where the art of nature and culture blend to create a unique masterpiece. Acetaia Malpighi uses the traditional Modena method to produce its balsamic vinegar, which involves a long and meticulous process of aging and refinement.
The company uses cherry wood to age and refine its vinegar, which is rich in carotenoids and polyphenols that help block processes activated by free radicals. This process gives the vinegar a unique sweet, creamy, and well-rounded taste with almost imperceptible acidity. Acetaia Malpighi has chosen to market this product with its unique organoleptic characteristics, which can enhance the value of any dish.
The barrels where the Traditional vinegar ages must be made of different wood types and placed in sets, from the biggest to the smallest. Every wood gives different essences to the vinegar, also depending on its ageing stage. Being a master vinegar maker is a very ancient job, strictly linked to this family’s tradition. Indeed, every heir, at birth, receives from their predecessor a set of barrels with their name, and in these ancient barrels the Vinegar will be left to age for at least 25 years.
Aside from Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, Acetaia Malpighi also produces PGI Modena Balsamic Vinegar and other kinds of dressings and products made with Balsamic Vinegar. Acetaia Malpighi’s commitment to quality and tradition has made it a popular choice for those who want to buy genuine and high-quality balsamic vinegar in Modena.
A Modern Twist On Balsamic Vinegar: Peck
For those looking for a modern twist on balsamic vinegar, Peck offers a unique option. Their delicate pralines of dark chocolate are enriched with the intense flavor of Giusti Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. This combination of sweet and tangy flavors creates a truly indulgent experience.
In addition to their chocolate pralines, Peck also offers a range of balsamic vinegars that pair beautifully with any EVOO for vinaigrettes, glazes, or marinades. Their finest grade of aged balsamic vinegar from Modena is produced in the Traditional Solera System style for up to 18 years, resulting in a rich, complex, and dense flavor.
Hidden Gems: Local Markets And Specialty Shops
If you’re looking for a more local experience, Milan has plenty of hidden gems when it comes to balsamic vinegar. Here are some of the best local markets and specialty shops to check out:
1. Mercato Albinelli
Located in the heart of Modena, Mercato Albinelli is the perfect place to buy not just balsamic vinegar but also other local produce. The market is full of vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. You’ll also find quite a few vendors selling balsamic vinegar as well as Italian wine. Most of the vendors selling balsamic vinegar will offer free tasting sessions, so you can easily try out the different balsamics before finally picking one. You can also buy each and every type of balsamic vinegar from the latest ones up to 50-year-old as well as certified DOP Traditional balsamic vinegar.
2. La Bottega del Buon Caffè
La Bottega del Buon Caffè is a specialty shop that offers a wide range of Italian products, including balsamic vinegar. The shop is located in the Brera district of Milan and has a cozy atmosphere that will make you feel right at home. Here, you’ll find a variety of aged balsamic vinegars, as well as other Italian delicacies such as truffles and olive oil.
Peck is a gourmet food store that has been around since 1883 and is located in the heart of Milan. The store offers a wide range of high-quality products, including balsamic vinegar. Here, you’ll find a variety of aged vinegars from Modena, as well as other Italian delicacies such as cured meats and cheeses. The store also has a restaurant where you can enjoy some delicious Italian cuisine.
How To Choose The Best Balsamic Vinegar For You
When it comes to choosing the best balsamic vinegar, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to know that not all balsamic vinegars are created equal. There are two main types of balsamic vinegar under Italian law: Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DOP and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DOP is considered the ultimate Italian vinegar, aged for 12 or more years, and has the most complex flavors. On the other hand, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP is aged for less time and has more variation in the ratio of ingredients used.
When looking for a high-quality balsamic vinegar, look for those with “Grape must, tradizionale” listed as the ingredients. This indicates that it has been aged for at least 12 years and will be thick and sweet. Cheaper vinegars may contain wine vinegar, caramel, flavorings, and other ingredients, which may be fine for vinaigrettes or glazing but will lack the depth and complexity of a Balsamico Tradizionale.
If you’re looking to splurge on the best balsamic vinegar money can buy, Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena or Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia are highly recommended. These vinegars are the most controlled and have a high degree of quality. However, they can be quite expensive. For everyday use, a well-made Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP can be purchased for between $14-$25 per 250 ml bottle ($60-$80 per liter).
When shopping for balsamic vinegar, look for indicators of quality in the list of ingredients or on the bottle. These are listed in order of highest-quality/price to lowest. Remember that true balsamic vinegar is always labeled “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale” and has a D.O.P. stamp, which guarantees that the origin and location of production (Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy) has been verified.