Perhaps you never expected to taste much of a difference between an olive oil from Portugal and one from Australia or Spain. But as we were introduced to a few of the single-varietal olive oils from around the world, we could taste the difference.You know the first time you drank wine that wasn't Two Buck Chuck. Or cheese that wasn't a Kraft American Single? Or beer that wasn't Keystone Light? It opened up a whole new world to your tastebuds, right? And while you may not be quite at the point of waxing poetic about top-notes and mouth feels and the like, you can still appreciate the upgrade. That's exactly how we felt when we were shown around Oli + Ve (say it with us: "Ollie and Vee"), sampling the shop's ultra premium extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars and explaining what, exactly, makes them different from the ValuBrand jars we usually nab off the grocery store shelves. Never again, ValuBrand. Our eyes (and tastebuds) have seen the light.
Perhaps you, like us, never expected to taste much of a difference between an olive oil from Portugal and one from, say, Australia or Spain. But as we were introduced to a few of the single-varietal extra virgin olive oils from around the world, we actually could taste a difference—some peppery, some mild, some fruity, all complex in their own way. Then, a few tastes of their flavorful counterparts, the fused and infused flavored oils: Basil, Harissa Hot, Persian Lime, a Wild Mushroom and Sage that smelled like pure autumn, a Blood Orange oil that's dangerously good in brownie recipes, even a Butter-Infused oil that is dairy free. Our education in EVOO was followed swiftly by a tutorial in the sweeter side of the shop, the flavored balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy (which you get to sample in a tiny cup of vanilla ice cream). Fig, Blackberry Ginger, even a Lemongrass Mint—each one of them pretty much turned our understanding of vinegar upside down ("you can put this on ice cream?"). Before long, we had a spoonful of Espresso balsamic-topped ice cream and visions of Maple balsamic roasted vegetables danced in our heads. Add to that the wall of spice rubs, sea salts, artisanal Italian pastas (some gluten free), sauces and other gift-worthy (or, ah, self-gift worthy) goods, and your inner Giada is doing cartwheels. By the end of it all, you might not be able to cite the exact number of polyphenols in that Barnea EVOO, but you will be able to discover whether you prefer that one over the Hojiblanca. Those generic grocery store oils and vinegars will only be vague memories. Top it off with a Dining Out Card (only $25 for us 'mobbers?) which gets you 25% off the entire check (including drinks) each time you use it at participating restaurants – which is quite the deal, we must say.
Single Variety Extra Virgin Olive Oils, $9.95 (small), $17.95 (medium), $29.95 (large)
Fused & Infused Olive Oils, $9.95 (small), $17.95 (medium), $29.95 (large)
Balsamic Vinegars, $9.95 (small), $17.95 (medium), $29.95 (large)
Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.