After two days in Verona, it was time to head south with our first stop in Modena. Our final destination was Florence but Modena was a convenient stop on the train along the way so it made the perfect day trip. We discovered Modena as it was one of Antony Bourdain’s shows featuring Emilia Romanga. One of the places they explored was Acetaia Pedroni and their balsamic vinegar farm with a meal that looked irresistible.
We when arrived by train we had a few hours before our reservations so we headed to the town center of Modena. We wandered around with our backpacks and found the Piazza Grande and the Duomo, which had a unique beauty to it and seemed to be very preserved from its original roots. Having read that the Pedroni house did not entertain late guests, we were mindful of our time. With only a few minutes left to comfortably enjoy the area, we found a cab to drive us to the country side, and I mean the real country side, of Modena. Surrounded by small houses engulfed by crops and grape vines- it was gorgeous! Finally, we arrived at a gate and told this was our final destination. Skeptical, we asked him to wait until we knew for sure this was where we meant to go. As we got out of the cab, we heard a hearty “HELLO!” and a women pop out from the gate- Fabrizia, who I had been corresponding with through email, was ready for our arrival. Waving by to our cab, we prepared ourselves for the adventure ahead!
Fabrizia took us around on a tour of the property and showed us the balsamic making process as well as the batteries they have that make the balsamic vinegar. The smell when you walk into the room is incredible- it is almost difficult to breathe because the balsamic is that potent and the air is thick of it. I did not know much of the information she shared and how much goes into making “traditional” balsamic vinegar. Everyone else at the property was very busy since it was harvest season, though we briefly got introduced to Guiseppe, who now runs the business. Then we got the chance to taste all the different balsamic vinegar products- a jam, a non-traditional balsamic, and then three traditional balsamic vinegars. The three traditional balsamic vinegars included Italo’s battery, a battery with Jupiter wood, and Giuseppe’s 25 year old extra vecchio, which was amazing- it was like pouring maple syrup consistency but even thicker with the most intense balsamic flavor. Each son gets a new battery formed that will be theirs when they are married. While we could not bring anything liquid back due to our carry on packing strategy, we did buy a jam infused with the balsamic vinegar and also bought the Giuseppe’s 25 year old extra vecchio when we got back online.
It was then time for lunch- the event we had been waiting for all morning. I think one of our unexpected highlights was interacting with the man that started this entire operation- Italo- old grumpy gramps that underneath has a huge heart! There was no English out of him so it was a struggle with our poor Italian and his poor English. He has strict rules for lunch- no cell phones, period- there are lockers in the entrance that are for your cell phones as they do not belong at a table, and do not show up without reservations. Several of his friends showed up for lunch and he begrudgingly allowed them in for lunch since they did not call ahead. The menu was 35 euro for all food and drinks that were all homemade with accents of balsamic vinegar in each dish.
- Vino- Pedroni Lambrusco di Modena
- First- Tortelini with ricotta and Italo balsamic vinegar
- Second- Bowtie pasta with pork and beef ragu
- Third- Balsamic glazed chicken, pork ribs, and an omelette with onion and drizzled Italo balsamic vinegar
- Fourth- Vanilla ice cream with Guiseppe III balsamic vinegar
- Two Pedroni grappa options- traditional and award wining walnut
Sitting out on the terrace courtyard with this amazing food surrounded with all Italy has to offer- it was unreal. We savored every minute here trying to absorb every moment to imprint as memory, to close our eyes years from now and be able to see, taste, and smell everything about this magical day trip. At the conclusion of our three hour stay here, we grabbed our backpacks and waited at the gate with Italo, as he watched over us until the cab picked us up- a true Italian grandpa! I wish more than anything we took a picture with him. As we drove away, we realized how amazing of an experience this meal was and were looking forward to our next destination- Florence.
If you are heading to Modena and want to experience this meal, you can make reservations here.
For the full Italy itinerary, click here!