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Vinegar, Balsamic

La Cà dal Non (Traditional)

La Cà dal Non (Traditional)

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After the latest generation of the Montanari family restored its acetaia, or vinegar house, in Modena, they named their traditional balsamic vinegar after their great grandfather. (La Cà dal Non means “Grandpa’s House” in dialect.)

La Cà dal Non balsamic vinegar is made from the sugary white Trebbiano grape, which flourishes in the low hills near Modena. Custom dictates that grape pickers harvest it at the last possible moment to maximize flavor and ensure sweetness.

The crushed grapes, or “must,” are simmered to condense by 30%-70%, depending on the producer. The must is then mixed with a bit of previously aged balsamic vinegar, like a starter, and continues to ferment and reduce for 25-50 years. The finished product has a wonderful sweetness that is balanced with a tangy pungency.

This luxurious item makes a great gift for weddings or holidays. In fact, before producers began selling traditional balsamic vinegar to the public in the 1980′s, it was mostly passed among relatives in Emilia-Romagna, and often a small batch would be started to celebrate a birth and be given as a gift at that child’s wedding decades later. Another interesting fact is that locals originally drank the vinegar as a digestivo, or post-meal digestive.

Recipe: Roasted Squash and Spinach Salad (fall)


La Cà dal Non recommends using their traditional balsamic vinegar over cooked vegetables, or roasted meat or fish. It also suggests a recipe from longtime Modena resident, opera icon, and renowned eater Luciano Pavarotti:

“Piccatina” with Balsamic Vinegar alla Pavarotti

Serves 4-6

2 lbs veal, pounded into scallopine
Salt & pepper
1 stick of unsalted butter
2-3 oz prosciutto crudo, julienned
1 tablespoon traditional balsamic vinegar
1 bunch parsley, chopped

Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper (remembering prosciutto is salty) and then dredge it in the flour, shaking to remove any excess.

Working in batches, melt 3/4 of the butter over medium-high heat and brown the veal,
a minute or two on each side. Set the veal aside on a warm plate. Drain off any leftover butter and wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Melt the remaining butter in the pan over a low flame and add the julienned ham. Cook the ham for a few seconds and then add the balsamic vinegar. Allow the ingredients to meld for a few moments and then pour it over the veal. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.


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