Olive oil and vinegar tasting rooms have always been places I’ve visited on vacations — from Ojai to Los Olivos, Napa and Sonoma — and of course, Italy. Now, thanks to the entrepreneurial vision of two young couples, a fine selection of gourmet oils and vinegars are now available closer to home at The Olive Vineyard (and the online store) in Agoura Hills.
Located in the newly developed The Shops at Oak Hills, the store itself has that Northern California small town feel with green walls, wine barrels and wood tables tops. The couples, Jennie and Jason Adams, and Nicole Shaver and fiance, Brandon Ledford, who are all in their twenties, opened their gourmet shop in mid September.
Jennie and Nicole man the store daily and are there to help guide customers through the different types of oils and vinegars depending upon use — baking, sauteeing, dipping, dressing, marinating — all require different flavors an combinations.
The concept is simple. There are over 40 selections of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars lined up in stainless steel fustis vats for tasting. They encourage customers to “sip it like fine wine” in order to absorb the full flavor. After tasting, you can create combinations of different oils and vinegars suited to personal tastes and food preparation needs. The flavors you tasted will be poured directly from the fustis into bottles.
The olive oils are from California, Chile, Italy, Tunisia and Australia. All the oils have an extra virgin olive oil base and are infused with a myriad of flavors, such as Garlic, Butter, Blood Orange, Lemon, Chipolte, Persian lime, and Tuscan Herb. Gourmet olive oils are Black Truffle, White Truffle , Roasted French Walnut, and more.
Balsamic vinegars are imported from Modena, Italy, and include a traditional aged 18 year aged Balsamic vinegar and flavors such as Black Currant, Tahitian Vanilla, Wild Blueberry, Cinnamon Pear, Coconut, Dark Chocolate, Fig, Jalapeno and Peach.
Oils and vinegars are $15.95-$17.95. Gourmet oils are $34.95-$44.95 per bottle. There are also gift packs available for purchase from $28-$60 that are perfect for the holidays or just as a sampler for yourself. Although the price is greater than what you find at the market, there is no comparision in terms of quality— and it is that which makes a world of difference. Plus, not as much is needed because the taste is stronger.
The Olive Vineyard website features some wonderful recipes, including Banana Bread, Dark Chocolate & Aged Vanilla Balsamic Truffles, Whole Grain Lemon Blueberry Tea Cake, Spiced Pumpkin EVOO cupcakes, Peach White Balsamic Bellini, Fresh Kiwi & Whole Fruit Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sorbet, Honey-Ginger Balsamic Glazed BBQ Ribs, and more. The site even reveals shows how to convert the butter in recipes to olive oil, which is known to be healthier.
The Olive Vineyard is also available for private tastings and parties. Whether you live close by or have to drive a bit, it’s a unique shop definitely worth checking out. You might even drift off remembering a time you spent in Wine Country or abroad. I know I did.
Karen Young is the Founder/Editor of My Daily Find. Email: Karen@mydailyfind.com