It wasn't until I lived in Italy that I truly learned to love and appreciate a good olive oil. Drizzled on tender butter lettuce salads with a pinch of salt, spooned over handmade pastas, dabbed on a chunk of rustic Tuscan bread, and I ashamedly admit, slathered all over myself in lieu of suntan oil. I was twenty, I wasn't thinking (but my skin sure looked damn good!). Now, many years older, I have nixed the use of olive oil as a tanning accelerant, but continue drizzling, spooning, and dabbing with molto gusto.
In Italy, early November is the time when olives will begin to be harvested for the first batch of olive oil. Gourmands around the world eagerly await this time of year for the season's new arrival. Now I like me some good fresh olive oil, but I was not about to hop on a jet and queue up with the rest of the oliophiles. So I went local and visited Oil & Vinegar in Bellevue, Washington.
This growing franchise offers a wide and impressive selection of beautiful imported oils and vinegars. Oil & Vinegar's product line also extends to an exclusive assortment of herbs and spices, pastas, appetizers, cooking tools, and more. Their gift sets are far from the predictable packaged sets because the product is so unique, like personalized oil and vinegar labels. Think Christmas, everyone!
What immediately caught my attention when I walked into Oil & Vinegar was their tap wall (pictured). A stunning display of glass vessels containing an array of olive, nut and seed oils, flavor infused oils and vinegars, as well as balsamic and wine vinegars. One of my favorites, a blood orange oil that nearly brought me to my knees it was so fresh and good.
As the gourmands begin their journey home from Italy carrying their precious cargo, I too, happily returned home with an armful of olive oils and vinegars. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to use mileage.
Check out our video interview with Matt Stermer, owner of the Oil & Vinegar franchise in the US.