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Mar 13, 2008 03:56 PM

Balsamic Vinegar in Baltimore?

Does anyone know where I can buy a high end balsamic vinegar in the Baltimore (or DC) area (I plan to call DiPasquale's and Trinacria tomorrow)? I am looking for a tradizionale - something like Cavalli Gold Seal from Reggio Emilia, recommended by Cooks' Illustrated, price range $100-$150? This is a special gift for a chef. Thanks!

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  1. Here's a Northern Virginia lead for you: There's an Italian food/deli/sandwich store in Vienna on Maple Avenue somewhat east of the Nutley Street intersection that sells DOP balsamic vinegar among several other non-DOP options. (The Pie Gourmet is in the same shopping center.) The DOP region is the Emilia-Romagna region.

    You'll recognize the real thing by its light tan book-style cardboard box. The distinctive Emilia-romagna bottle shape is inside with a red (12 years) or silver (20 years) label. The last time I was in the store, I didn't see any gold label bottles (25 years).

    If you don't know the bottle shape, follow the link below. The photo on this site shows both the E-R and the Modena bottle shapes.

    I can't remember the prices.

    Interestingly, the "name" Italian food/deli/sandwich store, The Italian Store (Lyon Shopping Center Arlington) carries no DOP vinegar. They may carry very fine vinegar, but I've seen no DOP vinegar. This may not matter to you.

    I'm intrigued by Cooks' recommendation. Since they name a specific producer, it suggests they've chosen a non-DOP vinegar. Based on what I know, DOP vinegars don't carry the name of the producer, only the DOP packaging and seal. Certainly, the DOP vinegar we bought in Italy doesn't mention the fact that the producer is Medici. (We bought our bottle right at the factory.


    FYI, the Betz Family Winery also has an small importers business and they import vinegar from the Medici producer. Here's a link to the vinegar I can recommend from personal use, although they appear to be sold out at the moment.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Indy 67

      Thanks for all the advice, Indy 67!

      1. re: Indy 67

        I found a receipt from the Vienna store that carries the type of quality balsamic vinegar you're trying to find. Here's some useful information:

        Italian Gourmet
        505 Maple Avenue
        Vienna, VA 22180

        Incidentally, if you go to the store, ignore the sign under the DOP vinegar. The sign refers to vinegar from Modena, the more commonly known DOP region. The vinegar carried by this store is from Emilia-Romagna, a DOP region that's every bit as valid as Modena. As I said in my previous post, you'll recognize the distinctive E-R bottle shape.

      2. Check out A. Litteri in the Farmer's Market up on North Capitol Street in NE DC - I've gotten some wildly expensive, extravagant, and sumptuous balsamics there.

        It's a great place. Good luck.

        1. You can try Il Scalino in Little italy too. They have a few shelves of Balsamic Vinegars and if you're looking for something specific, they can probably order it for you.

          1. Whole Foods (Inner Harbor) has had it in the past. Also Wegman's, but that's in Hunt Valley.

            3 Replies
            1. re: KOK

              I've never seen anything more expensive the $20/bottle at Whole Foods Harbor East, and lately nothing even that expensive.

              1. re: Hal Laurent

                It was xmas season '05. Perhaps it was just a holiday thing, or maybe a one-time thing.

                Wegman's definitely had it last month when i was there.


                1. re: KOK

                  I checked Whole Foods Inner Harbor East yesterday, and they had nothing more expensive than $10/bottle (and most of them much less than that). Unless they keep the really good stuff somewhere else in the store, in which case I hope someone clues me in.

            2. If you're near the southwest corner, Scittino's Italian Market (1701 Edmondson Ave) in
              Catonsville, MD, has a nice selection of all things Italian. Don't know how high-end they get when it comes to balsamic vinegar, though.

              (410) 788-2369

              1 Reply
              1. re: treetop tom

                I really, really would not expect Scittino's to have it. In fact, I would be absolutely shocked. It's a fine place for pizza, and they have a decent butcher area with some good sausage, but seriously, a don't believe that they'd stock anything that expensive. On the other hand have you tried Sur la Table or William Sonoma? I recall they both have what look like large collections, and I believe they both have some tasting options out.