In Provence, there were a couple of stores that specialized in olive oil. They were set up to allow tasting of all their oils, and the flavor differences between them was just amazing. I brought three liters of olive oil back with me. I had more olive oil in my suitcase than anything else, including clothes!
They also had a bunch of balsamic vinegars, both plain and flavored. I tasted, sampled, and this is what I bought:
The Olive Tap (website here)
1031 N. Court St.
Medina, OH 44256 (Map Below)
1. Arbequina extra virgin olive oil from Spain - buttery, fruity olive oil
2. Athenolia extra virgin olive oil from Greece - peppery, spicy olive oil
3. 18 year aged Balsamic vinegar - sweet and thick
4. Fig Balsamic vinegar - fruity and perfect for a Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
5. Myer Lemon olive oil - flavored with lemon; I can't wait to use it on some grilled vegetables
Good olive oil should only be used when you're NOT cooking with it. The high heat cooks out some of the complex flavors that make it taste so good. That's my excuse for having the big jug of Trader Joe's spanish olive oil on hand; I use it with a lot of my cooking.
I keep the good olive oil for use as a drizzling sauce, or in plain vinaigrettes, where you can taste the complexity.
*Oh, and the 18 year Balsamic drizzled on fresh strawberries is an Italian classic. I can't wait to get some fresh strawberries this summer to try it out.
The Olive Tap:
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