The Full Story

Welcome to Gianni's Fine Foods, the proud parent company of Balsamic Anonymous. I'm John Spenger, originally from the East Bay Area of Northern California, where I spent my high school years in Albany, a charming city nestled next to Berkeley. At the age of 28, while working as a waiter at Scala’s Bistro in San Francisco, I found inspiration in a delightful garlic bread dipper that I often served to enhance the dining experience. The idea struck me to bottle this flavorful creation, leading to the birth of Bistro Blends in 1997.

Venturing into unknown territory, I faced the challenge of figuring out where to sell my first flavor. The solution came unexpectedly when someone suggested farmers markets. Thus, on a Tuesday morning in Alameda, California, I embarked on this new avenue, selling $350 worth of my signature dipper within four hours. That moment marked the inception of the very first bread-dipping, balsamic vinegar line at a farmers market in the entire country. Over the next 12 years, I crafted a total of 13 recipes, securing 25 distributors across 20 states and achieving $1.3 million in sales.

However, personal challenges led me to reassess, prompting the sale of Bistro Blends and a much-needed hiatus to regain clarity. Three years later, in 2013, Gianni’s Fine Foods was born. Amidst the non-compete timeframe, I briefly explored chocolate sauce products under Johnny T’s, though it met an untimely end due to unforeseen challenges in the coffee business. Now, in 2023, the Gianni’s brand is retired, preserved as my corporate entity, while Balsamics Anonymous emerges with a soft launch.

The name change holds significance, reflecting a personal journey of resilience and growth. Following a difficult period, I made a conscious decision to embrace life, and in doing so, launched a brand that serves as a daily reminder of my journey, commanding a strong market presence as one of the finest balsamic vinegar brands.

Explore the Balsamics Anonymous world on this new website, where opportunities abound. Be a part of this first-come, first-serve experience that is poised to evolve into a franchised company. In contrast to my previous venture, this time, I'm retaining all recipes in-house, ensuring the authenticity and uniqueness of each flavor. While sharing my story, I must also address a past challenge, urging you to be cautious of a brand in Bend, Oregon, called Papa Centric (Called something else for legal purposes, but a similar brand in Bend), which unfortunately misappropriated my recipes.

Life is too short to dwell on the past, and I've learned to navigate challenges with grace. As you explore my story on this site, I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have. If our paths ever cross, I'm always eager to share the in-depth experiences that have shaped my culinary odyssey.