My daughter in law arranged for us to meet yesterday and go out to lunch before I leave for Ireland. She also wanted to take me to this little shop she has been raving about in Strongsville Ohio. It is a gourmet olive and balsamic vinegar store.
Apparently they have multiple stores in northeast Ohio close to Cleveland. I live about an hour or so south by the Akron Canton Airport, so this is not a place I would have found on my own.
We were greeted by two ladies when we entered who asked if we needed any assistance. I saw rows and rows of stainless steel dispenders on selves on both sides of the room. The proprietor explained one side of the room had olive oils and the other had balsamic vinegar. All of different flavors for the vinegars and different varieties and flavors of olive oils. There were little plastic sipping cups next to each container.
Pix of rows stainless steel
She suggested we take a sip of a few and then try blending them together: oil with vinegar. She also explained how each different flavored oil or vinegar can be used at the table.
PIX of of gift box and spices side by side if you can
I went on to their website, as they suggested, and found lists of recipes for a great deal of the oil and vinegars they carry, See website HERE
After a while, I was a bit leary of sipping so many oils. I did finally make a decision on what I wanted to buy. I picked out three balsamic vinegars; no olive oil.- smile
I have a new bottle of a French light olive oil I use for tabletops foods. Meaning on salads, vegetables and sauces. I cook with California olive oil. I found I do prefer a light tasting oil in general. Some of the olive oils were quite peppery, others had a strong taste. I was surprised at the range of different tastes they carried in the shop.
But by far, my favorite item was the flavor-infused vinegars. They had white balsamic: I tried grapefruit and pineapple and chose the pineapple. I tried the apple, Brandy suggested, and it was very good. The owner then suggested I try the new cranberry pear and then I substituted the apple out for the cranberry! I absolutely fell in love with Fig, a dark balsamic.
I even got to add to my olive wood collection
There! My three choices made for the gift pack, I went on the try the Truffle Salt Brandy loves but did not find it as powerful a taste as she did.
Time for lunch, we traveled back towards home and stopped at a good ole boy bar for pulled pork sandwiches and the best collard greens ever- a very Ohio meal. It was lovely.
I know many of you will never get to NE Ohio but you could look for olive oil gourmet tasting shops near you. It was an experience. I got a recipe card with each oil and vinegar bought. They even tell you what oils go with the vinegar you bought. Apparently Cranberry pear pairs well with roasted french walnut oil. I can’t wait to try the glazed Pineapple Chicken!!
Thanks for the visit. Talk soon.
Do you like different flavors of vinegar and oils? Any favorites?
Take good care