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La Vecchia Dispensa
Meet Simone Tintore
ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A FAMILY, A KITCHEN AND A LOT OF PASSION
Our story began four generations ago, when our family started aging Balsamic Vinegar in precious wooden barrels. A sweet inheritance prepared with love by our fathers as a dowry for each daughter.
1975. LA VECCHIA DISPENSA
Just a short distance from the restaurant we owned, in 1975 we decided to open La Vecchia Dispensa (the old house pantry) in the family home in Piazza della Dama. The same square where our children grew up and which we are particularly fond of. In the small artisan workshop on the ground floor, the grape must was cooked with its sweet, penetrating aromas filling the square. The traditional Modena recipes that we handed down from generation to generation were thus transformed into endless rows of pots and jars, all patiently resting on wooden shelves. Last but not least, on reaching the loft, one could find the Acetaia, where for decades we have kept the oldest vinegar barrels.
THE FAMILY TREASURE: THE ACETAIA
In front of La Vecchia Dispensa, overlooking Piazza della Dama, stands the centuries old Prison Tower. Inside this building our family is now keeping the oldest barrels and the most treasured memories, protected by its solid stone walls. A magnificent spiral staircase links the cells, where for centuries the prisoners of the castle were kept locked away behind heavy wooden doors; all that remains now are signatures and prayers etched into the walls. Today, however, these heavy bolts protect access to our “treasure”, that ages here in the shadows, far from prying eyes. These are the most precious family memories, a source of pride for Modena that remains enclosed in lands full of history and traditions. Rituals learned by watching and retold with simplicity. No handbook can teach how to make vinegar, because Balsamic Vinegar is obtained, not made.
THE BARRELS: WOMEN, WOOD AND SCENTED MEMORIES
It is our pride and honour to give credit to the work of previous generations, preserve and pass it on to those of the future. Every set of Balsamic Vinegar barrels tells us a story that always begins with a woman’s name. Thus we go back in time, to when the prestige of a family was measured by the number of barrels. Family women, grandmothers, aunts, great-grandmothers were strong and tenacious like the wood of the barrels, but sweet and scented like their precious content. But, first and foremost, they are mothers capable of generating life, like the precious “Mothers” of the Balsamic. All this is concentrated inside the barrels with the passing of the seasons, it ages like those faces engraved in the old family photographs, their colours may be faded, but the memories are so vivid. Thus each of those women can be found once more in every drop of our Balsamic. Essentially, what is Balsamic Vinegar? It is the tireless search for harmonious aromas passed down from generation to generation, a miraculous balance that only the alchemy of time and the tenacious men’s expert touch can create.
DETAILS MAKE PERFECTION, AND PERFECTION IS NOT A DETAIL
We like to take care of all the characteristics of our products, right down to the tiniest detail. Sometimes this may seem superfluous, or even obsessive, but for us every piece is unique and deserves all our attention, starting with selecting the raw materials right through to packaging the finished product. We have always done it this way, besides each of our vinegars, preserves or sauces talks about us, our history and our family and represents us with all its characteristics.
LA VECCHIA DISPENSA TODAY
Our family treasures the inheritance that our forefathers have left us, a fortune that we look after with the same passion over the years. Every day we face new challenges with the perseverance that our fathers taught us, based on the belief that only by respecting tradition, time and raw materials we can obtain excellent products. To this we add small family secrets, simple rules that we never overlook and that we have been following for four generations.