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Acetaia Malpighi: the secret of Modena’s black gold in an old letter

For five generations, the Malpighi family has been guarding and handing down the secrets of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO, passionately perpetuating the tradition of an excellent product by bringing it into contemporary reality.

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“Augustus, my dear son, I believe the most condensed and expressive conclusion of my notebook is to give a recipe for making true and genuine natural vinegar, a recipe distilled from what I have been expounding. At least five vessels of good wood concentrated genuine grape must, a mother of good, thick vinegar aged for a long time, and my dear son, the time I wish the Lord would give you so that you and your descendants could taste this elixir’.

There is a letter containing a recipe for an exceptional product, a true ambassador of Made in Italy excellence. This is the letter Piero Malpighi wrote to his son Augusto in 1850, explaining how to obtain what would later become one of the most prized balsamic vinegars.

Balsamic vinegar is deeply intertwined with the Modena area, where ars natura and ars cultura come together. Here, the cooked grape must become a highly prized elixir capable of enhancing many dishes and enchanting the senses, a worldwide excellence unanimously recognised.

The care of ingredients, production processes and distribution

Acetaia Malpighi is a historical company with a centuries-old tradition in the world of balsamic vinegar. Pietro Malpighi founded his vinegar factory in 1850 using barrels from the 1600s, handed down from father to son. The raw material used for all Malpighi products is of the highest quality: the grapes come from the family farm, ‘Tenuta del Cigno’. The production process of the must, the essential ingredient of all Tenuta Malpighi products, is inspired by ancient gestures: the grapes are pressed softly and slowly, then cooked in an open pot over direct heat.

The company philosophy is clearly to create exclusive products. The distribution channels are carefully selected, all large-scale retail trade is excluded, and there are no first-price product lines. The reason is easily explained: ‘It takes twenty-five years to transform ninety kilos of top-quality grapes from Modena into seven small bottles of traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena,‘ explains Massimo Malpighi.

Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena

The Malpighi family also helped set up the Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, an organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the product. In 2016, to set Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena apart from the many other similar products, but not obtained through certified procedures, Giorgetto Giugiaro was asked to design an exclusive bottle that would become the trademark and symbol of the precious product: it is the iconic spherical bottle with a rectangular base made of solid glass. It is the only one allowed for Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO.

Today, Acetaia Malpighi, headed by Massimo Malpighi, produces several thousand bottles of the award-winning traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena PDO and PGI Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia every year from its three thousand barrels. It sells its vinegar worldwide, from New Zealand to the Arab Emirates and from America to Europe.

Congratulations to those who believe in tradition and bring Italy to the world!

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