Vines and Branches March 11, 2013

And now for something completely different, as Monty Python used to say.  On Main Street in Greenport there is a terrific olive oil and vinegar store.  If you want to take a break from tasting wines, stop in here and taste their wares.  All the many, many different oils and vinegars are available for trying, with tiny cubes of bread for dunking if you’re not into drinking them straight.

When you walk in to the store an employee will come over and offer to explain how everything works.  Take the time to listen, because there are so many choices you might become overwhelmed.  The table closest to the door features pure olive oils from various places, arranged from mildest to strongest.  The mildest one tastes slightly of freshly mown grass, and is only slightly peppery.  A middle one has creamy flavors of artichoke and herbs–Favolosa, it is called, and it is our favorite–while the strongest one is a bit overwhelming.  After you make your choice, the salesperson will fill your choice of bottle size from the metal urn, label it, and then seal the top on.

You can also try fused and infused oils and vinegars.  “What’s the difference?” I ask.  The fused ones have actually been crushed together, while the infused ones have had the flavorings added later.  I discover Cara Cara Orange-Vanilla White Balsamic Vinegar, which has a refreshing tart-sweet orange flavor.  I’m picturing it on a salad of oranges, olives, and red onion.

As we wander around the store, my son and I note other specialty foods, but decide we have what we need.

At the checkout, your purchases are carefully wrapped in tissue paper and decorated with a bit of ribbon, so if you need to bring someone a house gift, look no further.  I now have a loyalty card, and look forward to my free bottle on my tenth visit.

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