Massimo Bottura and his restaurant in Modena Osteria Francescana need no introduction. Holding three Michelin stars and positioned third on the San Pellegrino 50 World’s Best Restaurants list, Massimo Bottura might just be one of today’s most influential chefs. He likes to describe his work as “seeing tradition from 10 kilometers away” and there’s no doubt that he succeeds in being creative and playful without compromising his culinary heritage. If contemporary art is Massimo Bottura’s lifelong muse, excellent regional products are his driving force. Despite some avant-garde cooking techniques and presentation, the beautiful quality of the ingredients shines from start to finish. I think it’s very rare for a chef to so brilliantly tell his story and at the same time cook extremely enjoyable food. Massimo Bottura does exactly that.
They call it black gold: a 100 ml bottle of a 25-year vintage can sell for over 100 €, yet most of the world’s supply is an imitation. We’re talking about modena balsamico, the carefully aged, syrupy vinegar that adds a deep mellowness and tart sparkle to everything from roasted meat, risotto to fresh picked strawberries. On a recent trip to Modena—the only region with the rights to the coveted Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena label—I had the pleasure of visiting Acetaia DiGiorgio , a small producer of the most sought-after vinegar.