Differences between Balsamic Vinegar and Balsamic glaze

What’s the difference between Balsamic Vinegar and Balsamic glaze?

Both are very versatile in the kitchen, often have similar colour and texture and both have sweet-sour taste.

But then, what's the difference between Balsamic Vinegar and Balsamic glaze?

It must first be said that Balsamic Vinegar of Modena divides in “Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.G.I.” and “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O.” If you want to know the differences between these two vinegars, I refer you to our articles which explain the difference.

Let’s discover together in the following points the main differences between Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Balsamic glaze:
1. Origin of the product and protection
2. Density and viscosity
3. Acidity
4. Taste
5. Ingredients
6. Aging

1) Origin of the product and protection

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is an authentic Modenese product, that means produced in the province of Modena, Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy. Nobody, our of this area can produce Balsamic Vinegar.
Balsamic glaze hasn’t any protection of origin. It can be produced everywhere in Italy and in the world.

Provincia di Modena aceto
The province of Modena, Emilia Romagna - Italy

2) Density and viscosity

Often you have confused the texture of aged Balsamic Vinegar with the texture of Balsamic cream. Both look thick. Actually the real aged Balsamic Vinegar is thick, while the cream is not thick, but viscous. In fact, viscosity indicates the greater or lesser ease of flow of a liquid. For exemple: water is not viscous.

Balsamic glaze is viscous, but it’s not very thick. In fact, it’s “light” but “flows slowly”
Density of Balsamic Vinegar is measured in specific weight, and shows the ratio between its weight and its volume.

Let’s make an exemple: let’s put on a scale 1 liter of our Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO aged over 12 years, 1 liter of Balsamic glaze and 1 liter of water. Now, we read the weight indicated on the scale.
The weight of 1 liter of:
Balsamic Vinegar is 1,32 kg;
Balsamic cream is 1,24 kg;
Distilled water is 1,00 kg.

As you can see, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is the heaviest; so, it’s the densest.

Densità aceto Balsamico
The high density of a real Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO

3) Acidity

The acidity of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO is minimum 4,5%. That of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.G.I. is minimum 6%.
While the acidity of Balsamic glaze have not to respect any parameter, but usually it’s around 3% and 3.5% acidity.

Acidità aceto balsamico di modena
The acidity of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.G.I. is minimum 6%

4) Taste

The taste of Balsamic Vinegar is intense, sweet and sour, lingering, aromatic and when it’s aged, it has complex flavours given by aging in barrels.
The one of Balsamic Glaze is sweet, slightly sour, mushy and flat.

assaggio aceto balsamico
A tasting of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

5) Ingredients

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is made of only grape. Cooked grape must, or cooked grape must and wine vinegar.
La glassa è fatta di Aceto Balsamico, mosto o succo d’uva concentrato e addensanti (esempio: amido modificato).

Mosto cotto
The cooking of cooked must for Balsamic Vinegar

6) Aging

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGIAged” must be aged for minimum 3 years in wooden barrels. While the younger brother, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI standard, must age for at least 60 days in wooden barrels. The absolute best, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.D.O., ages in barrel for over 12 years, or over 25 years to be part of the category “Extravecchio“.

Balsamic Glaze is not even 1 day old. It’s never put in wooden casks or barrels.

Invecchiamento Aceto balsamico di Modena
Barrels for the aging of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena P.G.I.

Opportunities for use

You can use Balsamic Vinegar of Modena as a condiment for any kind of food. Meat, vegetables, salads, risotto, ice-cream, fruit salads and many others.

Abbinamenti aceto balsamico
Passatelli con zucchine, guanciale e Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena D.O.P. Agriturismo Acetaia Sereni

Balsamic Glaze is instead a topping for the dishes. It’s a decoration to make your dishes aesthetically more beautiful for the presentation. In fact, thanks to its viscosity, you’ll be able to decorate your plate with shapes, writings avoiding the liquid “slips away”.  However, it’s not the best solution to season your dishes and to give added value to the taste of them.

How to find them and what’s the price?

You can find Balsamic glaze in every supermarket and discount. Usually it comes with plastic bottle and it has a price between € 4.00 and € 6.00 per bottle.

You can find the real Balsamic Vinegar of Modena in the best restaurants, in the best grocery stores, wine shops, in some butcheries, or directly by artisanal producers. Its price is from € 20.00 for a medium-high product and € 100.00 for some bottles of long aged and prestigious Balsamic.