|Our plate... The 25-year vinegar is on the spoon.|
I think Modena must have heard that I'm not to wild about the city and has it out for me. I just do not have good luck with the place. If you've read the blog, you might remember my story of the dude who tried to grab me or something last year (here). I took the group back there today, and, well, Modena is nothing but trouble.
Long back story short: I had looked at websites to find out about vinegar and Ferrari tours, and I found the Happy Circle Bus that drives tourists from the train station around the *area* and delivering them to various museums (Ferrari, Pavarotti, Maranello, vinegar factory, vineyard, etc) and back. The cost, according to the website, was 22.50 euro per person.... Good deal.
We headed to Modena on a short respite day, and grabbed the Ferrari Museum shuttle (a Mercedes van, by the way) that would take us to the Happy Circle (HC) Bus office. Easy peasy. HAHAHAHAHA.
Once we got to the office, the gal there told me that she could, indeed, sell us the HC tickets for 60 euro per person. The ticket would be valid 48 hours and would include entry to all of the above plus a few more things. I did not misunderstand her as she repeated it in English.
"The website says it's 22.50 per person with drop-offs at all those places," I told her.
"What website did you use?" she asked me.
|I don't know what it is with Italians and licorice.|
"I don't know," I replied a little more forcefully that I would have liked to reply. I was hot and upset. "I googled 'Happy Circle Bus,' and whatever site came up is what I used."
"Can you show me?" she asked. "Was it this?" She indicated the Ferrari Museum site. I won't bore you with the entire conversation, but that wasn't the site, and she wasn't budging on the price of the tickets. We were still discussing this when the HC bus arrived. "If you want to go, you must get on now or wait another hour," she snapped at me.
Long story short (again): We were not paying 60 euro per person for a four-hour tour (basically the time we had) when we wanted to see the vinegar and Ferrari things. The HC bus left without us, and I walked back to her.
"Look," I said to her in Italian, "I am guiding these American tourists here, and I know what I saw on your website. This is not right. I want your card, please. I will send you a link to the site when I get back to Bologna." I'm not sure what got her, but her attitude suddenly changed.
"If you want a ham, vinegar, and cheese demonstration, you can go to the palazzo in the giardino." She indicated on a map how to get there, and we left.
|The main piazza in Modena|
So, we got to the palazzo and found out that they had some appetizer plates. We tried the prosciutto, two parmesan cheeses (aged 12 and 30 months), tigelle (flatbread), amarena jam, balsamic vinegar (aged 2 and 25 years), and Lambrusco wine.
"That vinegar is nothing like vinegar at home," my good friend, Nancy said. "There is no way I would drink it at home. I drank it here."
She's right. Real balsamic vinegar tastes nothing like the balsamic stuff we usually have in the States. The real stuff is fruity and not so acidic that it strips your throat clean. And, it doesn't come cheap and is definitely not something you would throw on plain, old lettuce leaves. A 100 ml bottle of vinegar aged 12 years costs 40 euro. The same-size bottle aged 25 years costs 90 euro.
I haven't bought any.... yet.