The real balsamic vinegar

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Sometimes known as black gold, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena may not bankroll giant conglomerates or start international wars, but it has a price tag worthy of its epithet. And a bit like crude oil, once it’s a part of your life, it’s difficult to live without it.

I confess to a certain level of blissful ignorance when I set off to Emilia-Romagna earlier this year (blissful refers to the state of my wallet, which has suffered in consequence). I knew that there was good-quality balsamic vinegar, and inferior balsamic vinegar, and was satisfied that because I paid a whopping...