Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP & IGP


The next time you’re looking at an Italian food product, look for the DOP label.

Why? Because, just we classify wine with labels like DOC and DOCG, they also certify high-quality foods from Italy with a similar label: DOP. All of these acronyms can be a bit confusing, but they’re important to know about… they guarantee that what you’re eating is a local Italian delicacy, not an imitation!

As supporters of sustainable travel (and food!), we encourage you to enjoy DOP products to get the most authentic tastes of Italy. Here’s what to know about DOP labels and Italian food!


DOP is short for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (literally “Protected Designation of Origin”). As the the name suggests, this certification ensures that products are locally grown and packaged. And it makes a promise to the consumer: It’s a guarantee that the food was made by local farmers and artisans, using traditional methods. In fact, by law, only DOP products like balsamic vinegar can carry the word “traditional” on their labels, because they adhere to local traditions.

How does a product become DOP?

Italian specialties get DOP recognition by following a strict set of guidelines: Every step, from production to packaging, is regulated.

Of course, not all local Italian specialities are recognised as DOP. 


The IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) or the "protected geografical information," is the slightly less strict of the two denominations which awards the IGP seal to products from specific regions of Europe. The IGP acronym guarantees a product originating from a region or a country whose quality, recipe and characteristics can be traced back to its geographical origin. At least one production and/or processing phase must take place in the designated origin of production for the product to qualify.

There is a difference between IGP Aceto Balsamico di Modena and DOP Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. The first difference is that only the DOP product can carry the word Tradizionale, which ensures the consumer knows that its been made the traditional way. Remember that the IGP denomination requires that at least one of the production phases be completed in the official geographical area indicated while the DOP requires that all the phases of production be completed in the area, which means it the products carrying the DOP denomination will be more expensive (cannot import the grapes from less expensive areas, etc. etc.) They will be more expensive but also guarantee higher quality as the consortiums of the products carrying the DOP carry out regular and very strict inspections to ensure that all members of the Consortium adhere to the rules.

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