It was drizzling rain, so Cyndy and I decided to forego lunch on a patio somewhere in the city. Instead, we ate by a window at Osage overlooking their garden shop—never a bad choice. But Cyndy had further plans beyond wandering through Bowood’s adjoining gift shop. She had read in Feast magazine about the opening earlier this year of Di Olivas on Euclid.
“It’s an oil and vinegar shop that’s right up your alley,” she said, knowing I can’t resist a quaint, food boutique. “According to their website, they’ve got dozens of different vinegars and oils, as well as an assortment of fine spices, salts, spreads, mustards, tapenades, sauces, pastas, and coffees.”
Enough said. I donned my Wander Women culinary cape and off we went on another gastronomique adventure.
The Food Emporium on Euclid
The Central West End shop is the third in the region. One is in the West County Shopping Mall and the flagship is located in St. Charles. Executive chef and store manager Codey Shaffer was on hand to answer my question as to why the large olive vats I was examining had two spigots, one above the other. Codey, who has the credentials to be a olive snob, restrained himself and patiently explained olive pressing.
He also introduced us to a maple-bourbon balsamic vinegar that was good enough to drink straight from the bottle. Needless to say, we each bought one of those. We were both stocked up on EVOO, but couldn’t resist Chef Codey’s recommendation of a tomato sauce: Artichoke and Fennel with Chardonnay Wine. It’s good atop pasta or as a dip for crusty bread. Codey said it also worked well as a sauce for making a quick seafood medley.
Di Olivas is a great place to pause from walking and dining and do a bit of tasting and discovery. Betcha can’t leave this place without a tasty purchase.
Di Olivas, 115 B N. Euclid Ave., (also 118 West County Center and 617 S. Main St., St. Charles). Cooking Classes: Chef Codey, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, gives cooking classes at the three location—times and topics are listed on the website.