“Olive oil shots?” my friend stared at me when I suggested we head downtown for a food demo by Le Chien Noir sous chef, Eric Brennan at the new Kingston Olive Oil Company, located at 62 Brock Street.
We ducked in and were greeted by owners Shaun and Julia Finucane. The shelves are lined with a wide variety of premium olive oils and vinegars from around the world. It’s a great concept store; fresh olive oil is like nectar from the gods. The fresher the better, and its so fresh that the crush date is labeled on the bottles. They import seasonally from the harvest in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The olive oil is from olives grown and pressed by small-scale artisans and farmers. You will find oils from Spain, Italy, Australia and America, as well as other regions.
I was introduced to the health benefits of cooking with olive oil years ago and have never looked back. It’s a well-documented fact that olive oil is one the most indispensible ingredients of a healthy diet. The anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants are essential properties. Perhaps the best benefit is that it’s rich in monounsaturated fatty acid, which is the healthiest type of fat.
Olive oil has an expiration date, which is why it’s best to know when the crush date is. Sadly, many of us do not know how to tell rancid oil from fresh. When you buy from the supermarket you do not know how long it’s been sitting or when it was first crushed. Best buy dates are usually two years, but when was it crushed? Smell the oil; it should have a fresh grass or spicy pepper smell. Taste it, does it have a soft subtle finish or a zippy peppery kick? It should be either. If its smells nutty or like crayons or worst tastes greasy, it’s rancid. Like a fine wine, once you open a bottle of olive oil it has a limited shelf life that’s why it’s best to buy a smaller bottle than a large container unless you are using it often. The oil is affected by air and humidity. Store in a dark cool place. I know people who store it the fridge; my thought is that it changes the consistency but others would argue that it doesn’t. But, no need to throw it out if it’s gone off, use it on squeaky doors or as candle oil.
Olive oil is a mainstay for a variety of recipes, from pesto’s, drizzling in your salad, pasta and more. I was keen to see what Chef Eric had planned for the demo.
It was a rainy Saturday; the guests were excited to learn a new skill from one of Kingston’s rock star chefs. A large group was settled into the back of the store. The green grass smell of olive oil poignant in the air, I began to drool as Chef Eric seared the fresh perch infused in olive oil. He used the organic Picual oil (available in store) in the tarter sauce. It’s tropical fruity oil with a smooth beginning and a slightly bitter center with a lingering pepper finish. I tried a little of the oil on its own in one of the tasting shot glasses available. My friend and I sipped at it and enjoyed the finish. It tastes lovely on its own and even better when the Chef serves the fish hot from the pan, with chips and the tasty tarter sauce infused with oil.
The store is a welcome addition to Brock Street Common, steps from the Farmers’ Market. You will discover not only premium olive oils but aged balsamic vinegar and gourmet salts.
The prices range from $18 – $21 for oils and vinegars and $12 for gourmet salts. It’s a great place for loading up on stocking stuffers for the foodie in your life…(hint, hint to my family) although my husband already thinks I should own shares. I can’t get enough of all the different flavors.
Drop in on for the next cooking demonstration on November 30th with Aquaterra chef, Clark Day. It promises to be a lovely afternoon of tasting and swilling olive oil.
Check out their website, kingstonoliveoil.com, for great ideas and recipes using olive oil and vinegars. Sign up for their newsletter to keep informed or drop by the store, Kingston Olive Oil Company at 62 Brock Street, Kingston, Ontario.
If you have a restaurant suggestion or a great foodie location for me to check out please email me at Ladydinesalot@gmail.com, follow me on Facebook or my blog LadyDinesAlot.com.