I can’t tell you how much I like to support non-chain establishments, whether it is a supermarket or a restaurant. While your local mega-supermarket or Cheesecake Factory will probably be around for the next 50 plus years, the same can’t be said of a small area food co-op or a Lebanese restaurant, so remember to support these places.
Shortly after I entered the Twitter atmosphere, someone new followed me called “The Enchanted Olive.” I discovered that it was a store that sold over fifty types of olive oil and balsamic vinegars from select artisans around the world. The best part was that it was local…well, for me at least. A lot of incredible sounding businesses follow me on Twitter but many are located more than a hop, jump and skip away, so I’ll probably never be able to try them out, in person at least.
The Enchanted Olive’s website notes in its About Us section that it’s a “family owned business dedicated to providing the local community with the highest quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars in the world. It also states that “the concept behind the Enchanted Olive was inspired by a chance visit to an olive oil farm in North Carolina.” I found this to be touching since this is now the second local business I’ve come across that’s family owned (the other being Wigle Whiskey Distillery that I toured last month). If only family run, small businesses could continue to grow and giant corporations take a back seat, the world would probably be a better place.
The store is located about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. While a bit further afield, it’s only five minutes from the highway. We had planned on dining at a restaurant in the area and so I thought now was as good a time as ever to finally visit The Enchanted Olive.
Upon entering we were immediately greeted and the gentleman working asked us if we had been here before and upon our saying no, proceeded to tell us about the selections. It’s also a tasting establishment which meant you could sample any oils or vinegars you wanted; miniature pieces of bread are provided. One of the walls contained black balsamic vinegars, another white balsamic vinegars, and then sections for both extra virgin olive oils and flavored, fused, and infused olive oils.
Being a woman of the world, I was anxious to try out the one from Tunisia entitled “Chetoui,” which was described as being of robust intensity and organic. Tunisia is a country I would love to visit one day, specifically with its Roman Empire past, and as my mantra goes-food is the best way to visit a country even if you’re not eating it IN the country. I really enjoyed the sample and could definitely taste what the card had noted as displaying ample bitterness and pepper.
D tried a sample from Chile called “Frantoi/Leccino.” Funny, I had never considered Chile to be an olive oil country, yet as it is one of the most famous wine producers in the industry, olive oil shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
We both sampled a balsamic vinegar, unfortunately I didn’t note which ones, although their collection included everything from a mango white balsamic to a lemon grass-mint white balsamic to even a maple balsamic. I will say that the one I sampled was extremely tart.
We ended up getting a bottle of both of the olive oils we had sampled. Pricing is as follows-$5 for a small bottle, $10 for a medium one, and $15 for a larger one. Select olive oils and vinegars are higher. D also got a bottle of olives that were stuffed with jalapeno peppers…all him.
Even if you don’t live in the Pittsburgh area the best part about the Enchanted Olive is that they ship orders anywhere in the United States. So the next time you’re in need of some olive oil, put the bottle of Bertoli back on the shelf at the supermarket, and shop local (or shop Enchanted Olive).