Monday, December 14, 2009

Modena, and Strawberries with Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena.

I grew up in the province of Modena, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. During the summer I returned to the city and stayed in the centre, in the lovely small boutique Hotel Cervetta. Below is the view from my balcony, a very quiet street that leads straight to the main square, Piazza Grande (photo above).

In the main square there is the Cathedral of Modena, considered one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture in Europe. Recently this was the place where friends from all corners of the world came to pay their respects to the city's most famous resident, the late Luciano Pavarotti. Below are some details of the Cathedral's Porta Regia.

This is the Clock Tower ...

....And the beautiful Torre della Girlandina, all boxed up for restorations. Some people don't like the 'box', designed by Italian sculptor Mimmo Paladino, but I thought that it looks cool.

And beautiful is also the Palazzo Ducale

But now for a typical Modena ingredient....

A must visit is the museum of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, in the nearby small city of Spilamberto, where I got a 25 years old balsamic, which is just amazing!

Strawberries with Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale
di Modena

1 punnet of strawberries
1 tsp Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (ABTM)
1 tbsp white sugar

Hull and cut the strawberries, place in a bowl with the ABTM and sugar,
stir and let marinate for a few hours. Serve by itself or with Vanilla ice-cream.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. Never been in Modena but..once I tried the real Aceto Balsamico I threw in the trash the bottle bought at the supermarket!!!Fantastico!Buona settimana!

  2. The 'tradizionale' is fantastic. But one thing I learned is: there is aceto balsamico di Modena, and aceto balsmaico tradizionale di Modena (abtm), they are both 'real' (as long as they are from Modena), the first an is igp and the second a doc. but the main difference is in the ingredients (the tradizionale is made only with grape must, and the other with grape must and wine vinegar) and the aging, and of course in the care of it, all those years up in attics...rimbocchi, travasi, legni pregiati....

    But they are both good, only they have different uses, and once you taste the tradizionale it is like tasting crillo chocolate after a lifetime of kitkat!!

  3. Sometimes you will see the middle grade labeled "condimento" I believe, and while still quite expensive, it is a little more affordable and very delicious. As your recipe shows, a little goes a very long way. Your pic of the square in Modena reminds me of the one in Sienna... I wish I could close my eyes and be there right now!

  4. Ciao Michael, everything from Modena is well labelled. they tell you exactly if it is vinegar, or condimento, and for the ABTM you don't need to be a conosseur: the abtm is sold only in one type of 100ml round bottle designed by artist Giugiaro (the one in my photo next to the strawberries). No other bottles can be used to sell abtm, all producers bottle their precious liquid in one place (it goes through severe testing before being approved), and only 1000 litres are bottle per year at the moment (most producers keep it for the family, and not for sale). Everything else, regardless of how pretty the bottle may be, fancy the label, expensive the normal aceto balsamico di Modena (without the world Tradizionale), or condiment.

    Still very good...

    But a different product

  5. ps

    the label on the bottle of abtm can be different and may have the name of the producer, but the bottle is always the same.

  6. I haven't been to Italy and I envy my sis-in-law who visited Italy and brought back so many memories (Italian men are handsome, she says) hehehe... Would love to taste Italy one day. I am enjoying your travel from these photos. Love it!

  7. Italian men are handsome ehhhh? Well Arfi, I'll wait and see what the other bloggers say, especially the boys :-).

  8. nice post!!!!
    please visit me back...

    Culture of Indonesia

    thanks friend,,,,

  9. Alessandra, the photos are beautiful! I reallly enjoyed the photo journey. The "box" well I like that too-probably sticks out from the traditional surrounding buildings. Still, there is a lot of character!
    The strawberries and balsmic vinegar-Over the top! Lovely.

  10. Welcome and thank you for the visits Deny and Velva.
    I popped by your blogs as well :-)

  11. Modena is stunningly beautiful... I'm planning to visit it again in the future. Thanks for sharing the nice pics (and tips!). And the real traditional balsamico is another kettle of fish entirely.

  12. @ Yari: hehehehe, Italian men are mostly so self-assured!



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