While we were mainly focused on the Auto Valley when we were in Modena, it was hard to miss the incredible food that comes from that area of Italy. When you shop in the grocery store, you will find that most of the balsamic vinegar comes from Modena, Italy. It is the main source for balsamic vinegar worldwide. It is said that the first balsamic sold in the US was brought over by the creator of Williams Sonoma. Be careful when you purchase balsamic. There are a lot of terrible ones out there. Some “balsamics” sitting on shop shelves that use the word “balsamic” but are really just vinegar with sweetener and coloring. Eek! This became such a big deal that in 2009, the European Union created a labeling system called the I.G.P. stamp. It guarantees that the balsamic is truly made with Modena varietals in Modena. Check your bottles and make sure that you have a good one!
Getting to sample balsamic actually in Modena while we were there, was totally amazing. We brought back some of our favorite and I keep trying to make it last forever! This Pineapple Cherry Balsamic Chicken is a super simple weeknight dish that I’ve been throwing together for dinner these days. I love that it is loaded up with tons of fruit and flavor without too much fuss or calories. Balsamic vinegar is a great way to bring a lot of flavor without a ton of sugar.
Hawaiian pineapples usually come into season in April, but you can get Caribbean pineapples right now! I’m really loving how sweet they are. I just can’t stop eating them! Cutting pineapple is not my favorite. You can always use canned pineapples or pick up some precut at the deli counter. Cherries also seem to be in stock thanks to Valentine’s Day.