Monday, December 14, 2009

Do You Know About O and Co.?

O and Co., short for Oliviers and Company, is a fabulous little gourmet shop that specializes in olive oil and other Mediterranean foods. Our local store here in Boston is located on Newbury Street where most of the best shopping in town can be found. I make a trip there two or three times a year to stock up on a couple of different high end olive oils to finish my cooking with. I'm always surprised at what other items I find to play around with. On my last trip, I picked up some white truffle oil and they always have delicious wildflower honeys that I like to use in vinaigrettes and stir into my hot tea. You'll also find an assortment of tapenades, relishes, and other prepared foods, along with soaps and lotions.

The selection is obviously pretty fabulous, but the folks who work there will take the shopping experience to the next level for you if you like. As you walk into the store, you will notice a wall of oils - in Boston it will be on your left - as you enter. They are pretty great about recommending olive oils that you might like based on your preferences, or perhaps helping you discover that you even have preferences! I've learned from trips there that oils from hot places like Southern Italy tend to be more on the spicy side and those from relatively cooler climates are more subtle, not unlike wine. I've been enjoying drizzling the delicious creamy Tunisian oil I bought on roasted meats after I take them out of the oven. Though my knowledge is minimal, I feel like I am much more aware of how much flavor a great olive oil adds to food just from the few tastings they've taken me through. Olive oil tasting party anyone?

If you catch them at the right times of the year, there are often fabulous sales too. When the new batch of oils is about to come in, there is usually a huge clearance sale. I discovered this in June of this year when I popped in to say hello to my friend that manages the store. I picked up two oils that were 70% off and some fig vinegar that I've used in soups already this fall. And speaking of vinegar, they also carry an old Balsamic that I think is aged around 7 years. If you ask nicely, they may even let you taste it - get ready because it is amazing! It costs a pretty penny as expected, but I've contemplated splurging, and I think I might take the plunge this holiday season.

Half the fun of shopping, of course, is the educational experience of tasting through the oils, but even if you can't make it to an O and Co. in person, they do have a really great website with lots of information. If you check out the Boston store, ask for Leslie, and tell her that CQ sent you!

No comments:

Post a Comment