Friday, February 11, 2011
While trying to escape the rain while schlepping about downtown St. Petersburg the other day, an acquaintance and I ducked into the Kalamazoo Olive Company, not realizing how absolutely awesome it would be.
When we walked in, a man greeted us heartily and asked what brought us in. The rain! He gave a little background on the store and said we had walked into their olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting room.
Um, come again?!
Small stainless steel barrels are located throughout the cozy store, holding amazing and delicious varieties of balsamic vinegars and olive oils. I was familiar with flavored and infused olive oils, but had no idea there could be so many kinds of balsamic vinegar!
I had a field day tasting all the different balsamics and a few olive oils. The walnut, black truffle, and blood orange oils stuck out the most for me. They would make such fantastic salad dressings! I don't know where to begin with the balsamic vinegars. They were all amazing! Especially the sweeter ones, which were suggested they be paired with fruit/desserts, which sounds amazing and classy.
The two staff members working that day were very knowledgeable and friendly. One employee custom mixed a sample of some cinnamon-fig-something-or-other balsamic-and-oil mixture, and it was awesome!
Don't live near Tampa Bay? That's okay -- you can order from their website and they'll ship the deliciousness right to you! But sampling is a huge part of the fun, so if you're in or around St. Petersburg, make sure you duck in for a tasting! Kalamazoo Olive Company is also on Facebook.