|Balsamic vinegar is
originated in Modena in the
Italian providence of Emilia.
Aged balsamic vinegar is
very expensive, because it
takes several years to
produce. The juice of white
grapes, which is exclusively
used to produce it, first
ferments naturally and is
then laid down for very long
time, in a progression of
small barrels made from
different types of wood.
A small vegetable garden protected by a wall
or hedge, where edible herbs can be grown
for household consumption: this has a remote origin,
going back to the time when our
nomadic food-gathering ancestors turned to farming
and ceased to be migratory.
But the model is the Garden of Eden.
"Behold, I have given you every herb
bearing seed, which is on the face of all the
earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit
of a tree yielding seed: to you it shall be for meat."
When was the vegetable garden first heard
of in Italy? It is impossible to say exactly,
but certainly the ancient Latin authors were already
writing about it with some technical expertise. As far
back as that time the
beneficial (or harmful) effects of certain vegetable on
the human body were known.
And so doctors and farmers had a complementary
involvement in the hortus, one being concerned with
health, the other with nourishment, and both
beginning with the
same raw materials.
|When it is ready to be sold, balsamic vinegar is
brown in color and has an intense smell and a
well-balanced sweet-sour taste. Inexpensive
balsamic vinegar is made in a very different way.
|In and around Modena, the palio degli aceti is held every year
this is a competition among the best vinegars in which the
best producers of balsamic vinegar are chosen.
Today Italy produces 200 million tons of vegetable a year, spread
over 50 different varieties. Most of this enormous quantity of fresh
vegetables finds its way to our tables via mass distribution
networks, but a considerable portion still comes from small
family-run market gardens.
Thus, as we approach the year 2000, the earthy paradise is still part
of our lives.
G a s t r o n o m i c c u i s i n e m a d e
w i t h l o c a l m a r k e t p r o d u c e !
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