My wife and I are going to Italy in October for two weeks of art, architecture, and food. This discussion board has been invaluable in researching the latter, and helped us zero in on good spots to eat in Rome, Florence, and Venice. We'll also be spending two days and two nights in Modena. On our first day there we'll be lunching at Hosteria Giusti and dining at Osteria Francescana - I'm happy to say that I was able to get reservations at both.
Our second day is much more flexible. My only must-do that day is visit an acetaia to sample some real balsamic vinegars (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale) and to pick up a bottle to take home. I'm interested in how real balsamic vinegar is made, but I'm most interested in the tasting - I'd like to know how different ones taste, compared against each other, and then buy the kind I like most. Seems like the best place to taste various kinds is at an acetaia.
As I see it, there are three options for us. One: Visit an acetaia based right in Modena, for an hour or so, and spend the rest of the day in Modena's markets and osterias, dining and sampling food of the region right in town. Acetaia di Giorgio (http://www.acetaiadigiorgio.it/) seems like a good option for that, since they're a 20 minute walk from the old centre of town where we'll be based.
Option Two: Travel on our own to one or more places outside of Modena, like Acetaia Pedroni (http://www.acetaiapedroni.it/en/), possibly having lunch there as well.
Option Three: Join an organized tour which visits an acetaia, a Parmigiano-Reggiano maker, and a prosciutto di Parma maker, all in the same day.
A key factor in all of this is that we won't have our own car, so if we choose to visit acetaias or other places farther afield, we'll either have to rent a car, use a taxi or public transport, or be part of an organized tour that provides transportation.
I'm kind of leaning towards Option 1 at the moment, since my primary interest is in tasting balsamic vinegars, and it seems like others who also visit cheese and prosciutto makers report the acetaia as their favourite of the three. I'm also disinclined to spend over 100 Euro on an organized tour where I'd feel I'm mostly just paying for transportation anyway, since I understand most acetaias and other producers offer free tours if contacted independently.
What do you think? Would I be missing out if I didn't visit a Parmigiano-Reggiano maker, and/or a producer of prosciutto di Parma? Is it a much better experience to get out of town for these things, or would it essentially be the same thing at Pedroni versus di Giorgio? Is there a factor I'm missing?
Many thanks. Miscellaneous thoughts about foodie Modena is also welcome!