Walking the neighbourhood we stumbled on this shoppe selling olive oils made right here in Vancouver BC. And even more exciting they advertised themselves as an olive oil tasting room. Having never seen one, or knowing such a thing existed, we had to walk in for an impromptu visit. I like wine and beer tastings, so an olive oil one should be just as fun.
The shop was empty at the time so we had the place to ourselves. An open room with specialty shelves lining the walls. It allowed for the display and storage of multiple bottles in different sizes for sale. At the very top of these shelves were metal vats, each containing its own unique flavour of olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Each with its own flavour profile for you to taste and try before you buy. A small place card under each one spelled out its name and spoke to its ingredients. And before it, a small dish rested at the bottom of each tap to catch any run off. They all remained untouched. You grab a small disposable spoon from one of the bowls nearby. With a gingerly twist you control the flow of oil and allow just enough to saturate the curvature of your scoop. Its name promised a flavour and each taste delivered. If it was blood orange you tasted its sweetness, and made out the zestiness of the actual citrus.
Each grouping was arranged between fused and infused flavoured olive oils, white balsamics, dark balsamics, and vinegars.
The fused and infused flavoured olive oils included Baklouti Green Chili, Basil, Blood Orange, Butter, Chipolte, Cilantro & Roasted Onion, Eureka Lemon, Garlic, Herb de Provence, Milanese Gremolata, Persian Lime, Tuscan Herb, Wild Fernleaf Dill, and Wild Mushroom & Sage. The list of white balsamics was Alfoos Mango, Blenheim Apricot, Cara Cara Orange-Vanilla, Cinnamon-Pear, Coconut, Cranberry-Pear, Grapefruit, Honey-Ginger, Lemongrass-Mint, Peach, Pineapple, Pomegranate-Quince, and Sicilian Lemon. And the dark balsamics had their flavourings from Blackberry-Ginger, Black Cherry, Black Currant, Blueberry, Dark Chocolate, Dark Espresso, Fig, Juniper Berry, Maple, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Strawberry, and Tangerine. Already pretty impressed by the massive line up above, the clerk then blew my mind when she mixed oil with vinegar, and handed me a taste of this blend as a shot. More reason to buy a bottle of oil and vinegar together.
You would think someone would take advantage of their premise and sample all their wears. One at a time, using all their plastic spoons, and making a inky, oily mess. With row after row of vats and nozzle after nozzle to spout from, there was just too many flavours to try it all. And honesty you can only take so many shots of oil and sip so many spoons of balsamic before calling it quits. This isn’t ice cream, you just can’t sample enough to satisfy.
After trying a handful ourselves we were compelled to purchase. Not only because they were that good, but because I felt I had taken advantage of the shoppe if I didn’t. Each oil was available in three different sizes. $12 for 200ml, $20 for 375ml, and 750ml for $32. Upon purchase the name of the oil or balsamic is written at the back of the bottle in white ink. Luckily the place is well organized or else they wouldn’t be able to identify one black bottle from the other. My guest took home a bottle of traditional olive oil. I went for the first sip I sampled, their chocolate balsamic. I did so knowing I could pair it with both vegetables and fruit, and use it for savoury breads and sweet desserts.
My first use for it was in this heirloom tomato platter, with bocconcini slices, and fresh basil; along side extra virgin olive oil. It was delicious.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes
With nothing else like it, and nothing to compare it to, I am scoring this one very highly. What a great idea and a fun way to present it. Olive oil tasting, the first in the city? I am always trying to look for that perfect unique item to gift older friends, or acquaintances I don’t really know but wish to impress. Vancouver made olive oil in fun flavours is just the ticket. Not to mention a creative souvenir for those visiting our fair city, who aren’t necessarily partial to maple syrup. Don’t deny your cravings