Up until last summer, I don't think I truly appreciated or understood what a good olive oil was comprised of. After I finished up my MBA, my husband and I treated ourselves to a post-graduation trip to the wonderful land of Italy. We started in Rome, made our way to Florence, day trip to Venice, and ended our journey in the southern coast of Positano & Capri.
The trip was sensational, but the food...oh the food, was life-changing. We both came home with a newfound appreciation for simple, fresh, quality ingredients. Take a caprese salad - all you basically need are tomatoes, basil, salt, and a little drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar. But for that dish to truly shine, all of the individual ingredients need to shine.
That's what I love about seasonal produce, not only is it healthier for you and better tasting, but it normally costs less as well. You can get these ingredients at your local farmer's market or if you have a green thumb (I'm so not there yet) grown in your own backyard. Fresh, local, sustainable foods at your fingertips - why not? I normally go the Brighon's Farmer Market on Sunday morning (9-1pm) at the Brighton Highschool.
Back to olive oil, really good tasting olive oil. F. Oliver's is a store that sells a whole smorgasboard full of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. What makes them stand out is that their extra virgin olive oils are infused with REAL ingredients, no chemicals. They are made in small batches and imported from different artisans. More details are below:
- WEBSITE: http://www.folivers.com
- LOCATIONS: 747 Park Ave (Next to Baker Street Bakery) or 129 S Main St (Town of Canandaigua)
- PRICES: $14.95 per bottle, $19.95 for 4 mini-bottle sampler pack
- AMBIANCE: Bright. Open. Colorful. The room is setup to conduct tastings for all available flavors.
WHERE DO I BEGIN?
Let's start with the TASTINGS! Taste until your tastebuds burst. The sales associates are SUPER helpful and they will recommend different flavor combinations for you to try. P.S. the samples are free.
My favorite pairings of olive oil & balsamic vinegars all stemmed from recommendations by the F. Oliver's peeps. They are very knowledgeable about their products and food in general. If you are interested in tasting with a larger party or event, they can accommodate for those as well.
1. Farmstand Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar & Fresh Bright Basil Olive Oil
Don't you feel enticed to try this by just the name alone? For me, this one reminds me of summer. The sweet tart blend of strawberry pairs really nicely with the basil. You can simply mix together and drizzle over a fresh green salad or you can use them as standalone products over chicken, pizza, etc.. I gave these bottles to my mother-in-law and she was hooked! That's another plus of these products, they are great to giveaway as gifts for any occasion!
2. Summer Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar & Sage with Wild-Harvest Mushroom Olive Oil
The two flavor profiles sound like an odd pairing initially & you may be a bit apprehensive to try. But life is too short to not take chances, especially with your palette! The sweetness of the blueberry sits very nicely with the earthiness from the mushroom and the herbaceous notes from the Sage. I also use this one to drizzle on salads, but have used the Sage as a standalone ingredient in other dishes (e.g porchetta, pasta, risotto,etc.).
3. 12-year Old Dark Balsamic Vinegar & Tuscan Garden Olive Oil
Sometimes you just have to stick with the classics. The balsamic is aged for 12 years and is perfectly balanced and makes for a very versatile balsamic. The olive oil mimics a fresh herb garden bursting with the following flavors: Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, and Garlic. Use this to drizzle over fresh summer salads, fresh baked rosemary bread from Wegmans, Burrata cheese....really anything your heart desires.
Two thumbs up. I have visited both locations and have not been disappointed in either experience. In fact, I have a real-life example of a salad I made using the Sage + Blueberry combination.
Look at all that deliciousness in a bowl!