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The first historical reference to balsamic vinegar dates back to 1046, when a bottle of balsamic vinegar was reportedly given to Emperor Enrico III of Franconia as a gift. In the Middle Ages, it was used as a disinfectant. It was believed that aceto balsamico possessed medicinal qualities that a small amount rubbed on the forehead or chest would chase away fevers, colds, and other ailments. That is the reason it is called balsamico, a “balsam”.