It can be hard to keep up with the ever changing food trends, but one that has continued to spark my interest is the obsession with artisan olive oils. Seriously! I needed to find out what all the fuss was about, so I headed straight to the experts at Pour Olive located in Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood to get to the bottom of it.
Think there can’t be much difference between what you buy off the shelves and specialty oils? Think again! Those jars of olive oil at your local grocery store can be labeled 100 percent olive oil, but can actually be cut with other ingredients like sunflower oil, making it less pure and much lower quality.
Turns out the quality of olive oil is also dependent on when the olives are harvested. All of Pour Olive’s unflavored oils are Ultra-Premium, made from olives that are harvested and crushed at their prime and cold pressed to give you the freshest and most nutrient-rich olive oil you can get. You can tell the difference with just one taste. The texture is thick and colorful and the taste is rich, fresh and full of flavor. Basically, my store bought olive oil tastes like water compared to the real deal.
Once you realize just how flavorful olive oil can be, you can start creating your own flavors that meet your cooking needs. With over 40 different olive oils and balsamics from all over the world, there are well over 500 different flavor combinations that can be made from the shop’s selections! Even if you aren’t a foodie, don’t feel overwhelmed, from tastings to recipe ideas, the knowledgeable staff will lead you every step of the way.
The Tuscan Herb Oil and Traditional Balsamic are the shop’s best sellers and a steady flow of customers came in to buy one or the other as hostess gifts in the short amount of time I was there. Another big seller is the Blood Orange oil, which Pour Olive suggests using in brownie mix instead of vegetable oil for fudgier brownies!
While olive oil is great for cooking, it’s also believed to have several important health benefits including antioxidants, lowers cholesterol and helps metabolism. It’s also a great moisturizer for your skin, lips and hair! (Basically, I plan to bathe in it to keep my skin glowing throughout the winter.)
Not to be outdone, balsamics have plenty of uses that you may have never thought of! Pour Olive suggests using one of the sweeter selections as a substitute for syrup on yogurt or ice cream so there isn’t as much sugar. Consider adding a splash of lavender balsamic to your lemonade this summer for a unique twist.
Small bottles range from $10 - $12 and large bottles $16- $18. Not sure what you like best? Get a six pack sampler and try all kinds of flavors.
For more information on Pour Olive, click here.
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