Friday morning 8 am found us crowding into the little deli in Ann Arbor. I have been wanting to go here for years and as I looked around, it lived up to my wildest dreams. Tiny little space, crammed floor to ceiling with cheeses, breads, chocolates, oils, vinegars and more. We were met by the retail manager who immediately guessed we were the group here for the balsamic tasting. We told her we wanted to wait a while so we could have breakfast first.
The chai tea latte was delicious and the sandwich so huge, I ended up abandoning the bagel and eating the filling only!
After a long breakfast, we wandered back into the deli, where Gauri was waiting for us. She talked about the history and nomenclature of true balsamic vinegars. I took pictures of the bottles and pictures of the little vinegar drops on our hands. I will squeeze them in later when I have more time...
I decided I preferred the vinegar from the Modena region, particularily from one family (Vecchia?. I almost bought a 250$ bottle of balsamic and the only thing that stopped me was visions of the precious liquid spilling in my suitcase as the bottle shattered.
The service was mindblowing. Gauri spent 2hrs with us (at least)and was impeccably cheereful. One of our group was unable to make the tour, due to a series of unfortunate events (stupid US Airways) and we discussed buying her a bottle of balsamic as a consolation prize. We were overheard an Gauri suggested we bring her back after her flight landed and they would give her a special balsamic tasting. We arrived at 9:30pm, a new tour guide, Teo, gave her a detailed tasting. Amazing place. If you are ever anywhere close, stop in. You will not be disappointed.
I bought 7 kinds of chocolate, bread, coffeecake, paprika, white peppercorns. I could havve bought so much more.....