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On May 3, 2014, our first tour was the tour of the Villa San Donnino also known as the “Balsamic Vinegar Paradise”. Since the Villa was hard to find, the owner wife decided to meet us on the corner of the road with her Blue Porsche Cayenne car to direct us to our destination. Our bus driver was so excited because he loves porches’ and so was I. Besides the cloudiness of the weather, this was probably one of the tours that I mostly enjoyed. We got off the bus into this lovely area of vine gardens and a little house built ahead of us. We all sat down in a huge tent to listen to our tour guide talk about their wonderful product of Balsamic Vinegar. I was so intrigued about all the information that I received at the end of the tour. Our tour guide seemed very interested to talk to us so I assumed that she loved us!
From aging, they are then labeled and sold to consumers. Aging 12 years or before would be considered traditional balsamic vinegar, aging to a minimum of 25 years is considered to be extra old. The balsamic vinegar is used with either original grapes, white grapes or red grapes. They then place the balsamic vinegar in wooden barrels to give color to the product.
We tasted 5 different vinegars. Our first taste was the industrial vinegar which was acidity. Our second taste of vinegar was 40% wine vinegar, 60% cooked grapes, was left in the barrels for color for 2 years and cost 18 euros. In my opinion it was too sweet for my tasting. The third tasting named was black dressing which is like the traditional vinegar. It included red grapes (solo cooked grape juice), takes 6 years of aging, cost 20 euros for the larger bottle and 12 euros for the smaller bottle. The 3rd and 4th tasting wasn’t really my favorite but the 5th tasting was a jelly type structure made from thickening aging of apples. My favorite part of the tour was when our tour guide said that she had a surprise for us. She left and came back with Vanilla Ice Cream Covered with the 6 years aged vinegar. It was delicious! I would gladly recommend tasting it.
At the end of the tour we had the opportunity to purchase their product and tour the inside of the house and attic. It was full of barrels with the vinegar placed inside. Large barrels, small barrels and medium barrels. Overall it was a wonderful experience!