Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

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Mast Còt: Cooking Grape Festival in Spilamberto

Fall festival celebrating traditional balsamic vinegar

On the first weekend of October, the balsamic town of Spilamberto near Modena in Italy, comes alive with the "Mast Còt", a grape must cooking festival. An event dedicated to the traditional balsamic vinegar that fills the streets of the village with the aroma of cooked grape must.

mast còt cooking grape festival balsamic vinegar

Mast Còt: Open-air grape must cooking

Every year, on the first weekend of October, the streets of Spilamberto are filled with the scent of grape must. It is not without reason that the festival is always held in the fall: In September, the precious grapes are ripe and ready to be harvested by the vinegar makers. This important moment in the production process of balsamic vinegar is celebrated every year in the home of the traditional balsamic vinegar. The central event of the weekend is the cooking of the grape must in the characteristic "paioli" (large iron containers): Over great fires, in huge cauldrons, the grape juice is slowly cooked at a temperature not exceeding ninety degrees until it is reduced to a third of its original quantity. This is the basis of the traditional balsamic vinegar, which is then placed in wooden barrels to mature for many years, developing the characteristic flavors, fragrances and colors of one of the most appreciated gastronomic products in the world.

The "Mast Còt" is organized by the Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena in collaboration with the Municipality of Spilamberto and the Consorteria dell'Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale. In addition to the must cooking, visitors can of course taste the balsamic. The Consortium offers guided tastings during the two days. Moreover the entrance to the Museum of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is free during the weekend.

Stuzzicalamberto: Tasting tours to discover local specialties served with traditional balsamic vinegar

Mast Còt has also been promoting a development that combines gastronomy, tourism and culture. To highlight the link between good food and good life, Stuzzicalamberto is held, offering gastronomic tours focused on the use of balsamic vinegar. Culinary itineraries are proposed in search of local specialties made with the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, prepared by bars, restaurants, bakeries, delicatessens and associations in Spilamberto for visitors to enjoy.

But that's not all. Some masterpieces of the golden age of the automobile are also often on display: Models of prestigious automobiles, sculpted and handcrafted by Modena's coachbuilders. An unprecedented meeting between the artisans of speed and the creators of slowness!


Maurizio Fini, Grand Master of the Consorteria dell'Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, on the annual Mast Còt:

"In the province of Modena, the tradition of balsamic vinegar is deeply rooted and very much alive as an element of conviviality, art and popular culture that is widespread throughout the territory. It is a culture that involves the processing of cooked must, from the vines grown in our territory. It is a popular and ancient wisdom that has survived wars, earthquakes, pandemics and social, political and economic changes over the centuries. It has always survived unscathed, if not strengthened, thanks to the values brought by those who have patiently nurtured and guarded it in the semi-darkness and silence of their vinegar cellars, making it unique and unrepeatable".