“Life without Olives Is the Pits”
Like a good bourbon, olive oil and vinegar have distinct characteristics. And Marianne Prey at Olive Ovation knows the subtle differences. What’s more, she’s happy to share her expertise with those seeking to amp up their kitchen flavors.
The spiffy shop with a Mediterranean air, is located next to Giovanni’s Kitchen in the Colonial Marketplace shopping center. The name, Extra Virgin, an Olive Ovation, highlights the olive oil and vinegar tasting bar. Among her imported and local offerings are 50 different vinegars and 35 extra virgin olive oils.
But wait! There’s also condiments and kitchenware galore: 20 different pastas, French jams, mustards, and an assortment of loose teas, (deep breath) sauces, salts, spices, Polish pottery, kitchen accessories, Italian tablecloths, body care products, and more. All attractively displayed and compelling. And food classes!
I recently stopped by for two jars of salt for Thanksgiving cooking. I bought a fleur de sel, a coarse, finishing salt for topping vegetables, meats, and sweets, and a jar of pink Himalayan salt.
Give Your Cooking a Flavor Boost
You might think of Marianne as a vinegar and olive oil sommelier to guide you in selecting the right flavor combinations. The store’s website is a virtual tutorial for those who enjoy Mediterranean cooking. You quickly learn that vinegar is not just for salads. It’s acidity brightens stews, tenderizes meats, and enhances sauces and roasted vegetables. Even desserts. Much like salt, vinegar emboldens the flavors of other ingredients.
So what’s the most popular of the store’s balsamic vinegars? According to the website, that would be the Robbins Family Farm. It’s thick, rich and sweet with a distinct grape flavor. Marianne is especially fond of the sun-dried garlic spread from Tunisia, a combo of EVOO and roasted garlic.
Celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau Day
During our recent visit, Marianne noted that the annual Beaujolais Nouveau Day was just around the corner—November 21. I’ve oft observed Bastille Day (July 14) with a fine glass of wine, but Mrs. Reardon, my high school French teacher, neglected to mention Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Perhaps because we were mere children and it was a bawdy wine festival.
A Thanksgiving Wine
In the Beaujolais region of France, the end of the grape-growing season is marked by the release of a fruity wine .This, light, young, red wine is made from Gamay grape, fermented a mere two weeks and released at exactly 12:01 a.m. on November 21 each year.
This is not a drink for wine snobs. Even so, over the years, there’s been much ado surrounding the event, including a race to see who could get the new wine to Paris first. The occasion is still heralded in the region with parades, fireworks, music, dancing, street fairs, and a marathon race.
Since this Beaujolais Nouveau is released the third week in November, it’s become an appropriate choice for the American Thanksgiving table. If you’re just looking to insert a wine holiday between Halloween and Thanksgiving, this may be just the celebration for you.
Talk to Marianne to learn more about this wine. Get her advise on a stunning holiday salad dressing or just the right gift for your foodie friends. Taste and browse.
‘Betcha can’t get out without buying something. 🙂
An Olive Ovation: 8829 Ladue Road, Colonial Marketplace Shopping Center (former site of Wild Oats and Lammert’s Furniture). Open: Mon-Fri 10a-6p; Sat 10a-5p; Sunday noon-4p.