Welcome to my third and penultimate post on Blogville in Bologna! The day after we arrived in Bologna, we all ventured off to visit the neighbouring town of Emilio Reggio, where we visited one of the loveliest youth hostels I've ever seen, the beautiful theatre I featured in this post, and a fantastic education centre which teaches children about everything in a hands-on way, even letting them make their own food. They served us an amazing lunch including some of the best cheese and balsamic vinegar I've ever tasted- or so I thought....but that was before we made our final stop of the day, at Acetaia San Giacomo.
Andreas showed us round his beautiful home and the buildings where the balsamic vinegar is made- one brilliant feature of the site is that they had commissioned a local artist to interpret some of the most useful information about the vinegar making process into these gorgeous feature walls- illustrating the process of growing, heating and ageing.
Since I've recently been doing some work for a whisky company, it was really interesting to see the similarities in the ageing techniques- the use of different types of wood in the various barrels giving the vinegar a different flavour.
We even got to try some of the most expensive Gold label vinegar- over 25 years old and 100 euros a bottle! It was absolutely delicious. We even tried a special bi-product of the vinegar making process- sapa- which is a result of over cooking the sugar out of the grape mixture. It's thick, gooey and very sweet but still has that vinegar kick- and was traditionally served to children on snow! We enjoyed it on ice-cream though,which was absolutely delicious.
I bought a bottle of the vinegar home- not the Gold Label but still better than anything we get here in England! As much as I would like to keep it for myself, I've decided to give away this bottle as a gift to you guys- so leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a winner later this week. Please leave an email address or twitter ID so I can contact you!