Updated: Dec 13, 2020
You probably have one in your kitchen, but do you know what is inside the bottle ?
An industrial product
Unlike "The Black Gold of Modena" or the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP described in a previous post, the commercial products sold as Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP are not made only of grape must, but mainly of wine vinegar, with some additives and flavors.
They are not kept in batteries of various woods and aged for years, but produced in few weeks or months in huge oak barrels for the best ones, the cheapest are made in few days with a mix of wine vinegar, added caramel, thickeners and other additives & flavors.
They are much cheaper, but also more acid and less tasty the traditional ones. However, they are still sold with a hefty premium compared with plain wine vinegar, so it's a very lucrative business both for the producer and the distributor.
The price and quality may vary a lot, because the IGP label gives a great liberty compared to the very strict DOP label. Usually, the more natural and aged IGP products tend to cost more (more cooked must and more time used in the production process), but there is no rule: some nicely packaged products are sold at a high price even if they are very basic and acid!
Our advice: take time to read the ingredients and to compare the products, it's worth a check before buying. The more ingredients you see, the less natural is the product.