It was in 1973 that the Pelloni family opened the “AL CASTELLO” restaurant in the medieval setting of the Piazza della Dama in Modena. Mario Pelloni was not born a restaurateur, but his previous profession was linked to foods, and thanks to his wife's love of cooking and the cooperation of his daughter Roberta and son-in-law Marino, he made a success of the venture by offering dishes prepared in the genuine local ways now unfortunately on the verge of extinction. The items on the menu are mainly based on the traditional cookery of the Modena region.
Previous generations of the Pelloni family had also been skillful in preparing many preserves, from vegetables pickled in oil or vinegar to fruit in syrup and jams, and finally the liqueurs typical of the Modena tradition. Last but not least came their production of balsamic vinegar, with output gradually increasing to considerable quantities over the years. Continuous requests from restaurant customers for jars of delicacies to enjoy at home led to the creation of a larger organisation to produce the various products.
And so, in an attractive old building also overlooking the Piazza della Dama, the Pelloni family established LA VECCHIA DISPENSA, with a production area, a showroom, and an exhibition on the upper floors, right up to the attics containing the batteries of barrels for production of balsamic vinegar. The name is drawn from the peasant lifestyle of bygone days, when every home had a cupboard known as the “dispensa” used to store foods preserved during the summer months to allow the family to survive the hard winters unscathed.
Since 1993, products have been produced and sold by Roberta Pelloni and her husband Marino Tintori, who have introduced new packaging while keeping faith with the traditional production methods, and brought their products to a wider market of appreciative customers.
If you are tired of the same old relish tray for your backyard grilling, then upgrade to these wonderful whole cipolline onions - small, flat onions with a firm crunch - an Emilia Romana favorite made extra special with a touch of La Vecchia Dispensa's aromatic balsamic. One bite and you'll never go back to pickles and radishes again.