When shoppers first walk into The Olive Leaf in Bloomington, Indiana, they may be a bit dazzled by all the choices of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That’s why owners Marla and Troy Kirkman urge visitors to taste test the products.
“We encourage customers to try before they buy,” Marla says.
Tasting stations feature dozens of different olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Olive oils include herb, garlic, butter, lemon, blood orange, Persian lime, basil and white truffle oil. Balsamic vinegars include wild blueberry, fig, tangerine, cinnamon pear, dark chocolate, red apple, blackberry ginger, vanilla, raspberry, black currant, strawberry, juniper berry, pomegranate, black cherry, honey ginger and ripe peach.
Stainless steel containers called fustis are arranged as tasting stations for the vinegars and olive oils at The Olive Leaf. Shoppers are welcome to dispense a little bit of the olive oil or vinegar into a paper cup, then taste it.
That way, Marla says, nothing detracts from the taste. Customers get the real taste and can decide what they like best and what they’d like to use in their cooking. People are often surprised at how different the oils and vinegars can taste.
“In addition to the events that we host throughout the year where customers have the opportunity to taste recipes preparing using our oils and vinegars, we also offer private tastings,” Marla says.
The most popular olive oil in the shop, Marla says, is the Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil.
“It’s a delicious blend of herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic infused oil. Use it on everything from salad dressings to marinades. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a few twists of freshly ground pepper for an irresistible bread dipper.”
The best-selling balsamic vinegar is the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Odena, Italy. Produced in oak barrels and aged up to 18 years, the balsamic is very diverse, thick and potent enough to be dripped onto a dish as a condiment and also balanced enough so it will pair well with one of the shops extra virgin olive oils as a salad dressing.
“The acidity makes it pair extremely well with our sweeter oils and with sweet foods such as fresh fruits or even ice cream,” Marla says.
For more information: Contact The Olive Leaf at (812) 323-3073 or visit the website at www.oliveleafbloomington.com.
Located at 879 S. College Mall Road in The Shoppes in Bloomington, Indiana, The Olive Leaf is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.
The Olive Leaf also offers online ordering at www.oliveleafbloomington.com
White Truffle Roasted Potatoes
4-6 large Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoons The Olive Leaf's White Truffle Oil
2 tablespoons The Olive Leaf's Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh-snipped chives
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and cube potatoes and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Begin a thin drizzle of White Truffle Oil and then Traditional Balsamic Vinegar over the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven on center shelf and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with fresh chives and serve.