An elixir that has reached every social stratum: from the farmer to the aristocrat, every family safeguarded their own secret recipe.
A true social ritual that required careful attention in the selection of ingredients and expertise in the preparation of the barrels. Every barrel was precisely made by the cooper: mulberry, juniper, oak, cherry and chestnut were the most frequently used and typical essences. Choosing one or the other was crucial for giving the vinegar its own aroma, individual and inimitable.
Rich dowries and inheritances
Every family of Modena, and above all the wealthy families, had their own jealously-guarded batch, kept more for its social value than its economic worth: the head of the family supervised every step and sealed their property with their own family emblem.
The noble families of the land began production solely for the pleasure of their grandchildren; after all, only they would be able to sample the fruits of this labour. Thus, these batches became rich dowries and inheritances.
Each element plays its role
In attics, where the barrels were stored, each element had a role to play: the moon, in its waning phase, favoured the ritual of filling, and the river pebble, if placed upon a piece of gauze at barrel’s closure, gradually allowed small calcareous fragments to fall into the vinegar thanks to the emissions caused by acidification, thus lowering the acidity.
Only with the birth of the Kingdom of Italy was this “secret” leaked by families: the first bottles now began to find a place on the market in the food shops and general stores of Modena.