Now that we’re cooking more (everything) at home, olive oil is one of the things we seem to be buying on a weekly basis.
We discovered a decent bagel place in Fishkill recently and I noticed that there was a small store that had olive oils and balsamic vinegar in the same strip mall. I was intrigued and on a recent solo trip to the bagel store decided to check out Olive U.
Inside, the walls are lined with bottles–olive oils along one side and balsamic vinegars along the other. In the back there’s a table set up with tasting cups so you can taste everything before settling on your favorites.
Many of the oils and vinegars are flavored and the choices run the gamut from butter to Persian lime, but if that’s not your thing, there are also some fine single-olive oils.
I started talking with Janine Panico about the various oils and before I knew it, there were several small cups lined up to taste. I’m not fond of peppery, sharp oils, so we started from that. Janine poured a few tastings, and we talked about them as I tasted. My favorite was the Peranzana oil which is one of the lighter ones. “Its aroma is sweet with hints of fresh cut grass and tomato, complemented by hints of herbs and dried fruit.”
While I was working my way through the oils, Janine surprised me by pouring a couple of the balsamic vinegars for me. What struck me immediately was how much more flavorful these were than my normal supermarket balsamic. We tasted both the white and classic 25 Star balsamic. They both had great flavor and I would have bought a bottle but need to use up the decent bottle we already have first. Like the olive oils, the balsamic vinegars come in a wide range of flavors, and unlike the oils, I ended up with one of the flavored ones. It’s a Tuscan herb-flavored one and will let me be lazy in flavoring salads etc.
I’ve been using the Tuscan flavored balsamic a lot lately and it’s changed my outlook on balsamic vinegars. It’s got a nice depth of flavor, much more so than your supermarket varieties. I’ll be going back for more soon.
At Olive U it’s not all about oil and vinegar. There are lots of interesting-looking Italian products and pastas. Along with that, Janine has stocked a number of local products, like spices from Rockerbox Spice Company.
If you’re not near Fishkill, they ship all over the US.
So, the next time you see an interesting looking store, stop in. You might be pleasantly surprised.
986 Main Street, Fishkill NY 12524