As I’ve mentioned, I enjoy all things about food – and that includes food adventures!
I’m always looking out for events where I can learn more about food, chefs and restaurants.
Over the weekend, I attended a Valentine-inspired food demonstration at O’live a Little specialty gourmet shop at the Shoppes in Evergreen Walk, South Windsor, CT. I found out about it from the Evergreen Walk’s website. It was listed under events. So I signed up to attend with my daughter.
I had never been to this shop before, but know of it from my travels to the plaza. Upon entering I knew I would like it because a sign reading, “Who doesn’t love an Italian” topped the front display.
The store’s staff quickly greeted us and made us feel very welcome. She explained that the shop carries over 50 varieties of extra-virgin olive oils (EVOO) and vinegars, in addition to a variety of salts, spices, specialty pastas and various kitchen items.
The olive oils and vinegars are on tap in large metal containers. You can taste any of them. And if you decide to purchase, it’s freshly bottled on site!
Our food demonstration began with Chef Beth, a pastry chef and master farmer, discussing how to bake with olive oil. She quickly mixed up a short cake with one of the oils and put it to bake for tasting later. She then began showing us how to poach pears.
As those items were cooking, Chef Tyler, an executive sous chef at La Casa Bella restaurant in South Windsor, took over. He began showing us how to garnish strawberries into roses, julienne beets for a salad and blending different oils and vinegars for each of the dishes he prepared.
At the end of the demonstration, both chefs offered us samples of the dishes made: flank steak crostini with shaved Asiago cheese; espresso and pink pepper berry marinated pork tenderloin, a mixed greens salad with roasted beets and feta cheese; and strawberry shortcake with chocolate covered cherry balsamic drizzle. Every item was delicious.
We walked around the store with the staff highlighting the oils used in the food demonstration. I chose to purchase a sampler that included oregano-infused EVOO, chocolate-dipped strawberry balsamic vinegar, pomegranate balsamic vinegar and Sicilian orange-infused EVOO. My head is spinning thinking of all the great dishes I can make with these oils and vinegars. Chef Beth suggested the orange-infused EVOO would be good with seafood. I can’t wait to try it with seared scallops.
Before leaving I learned that the store offers in-store tasting parties.
Hmmm, maybe something to consider with the cookbook book club group…
Have you ever been to an olive oil tasting?