Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Most Favorite Place: Mountain Town Olive Oil Co.

In the past 15 years of marriage, it has been the rarest of treats for my husband and I to have a getaway. If it wasn't lack of money, lack of overnight babysitters, or a reliant breastfeeding baby it was something else. Needless to say we've only had 3 one night over-nighters in 15 years.

Which is why I eek every ounce of entertainment and fun out of the events. My brain shifts over into multi sensory mode and everything I eat, smell and see is's like being newly postpartum all over again and I love it!

We were staying right next to the Gateway Mall in downtown SLC, and so we had a nice meal at the Gateway and proceeded to walk towards the movie theaters to catch a movie. Luckily, we had a 25 minute window in which to make it in our seats.

We passed by this very classy, minimalist looking store. I stopped, took a step back and studied the signage:

Mountain Town Olive Oil Company

I brought my eyes down at which point I saw copper colored vats, lined up in 4 different rows and that was about it. I was intrigued. No flashing lights, no signs shouting 'sale', nothing that would really draw you in, except its simplicity and clean lines, not to mention it was dedicated to my favorite oil...Olive. I did, after all, name one of my children Athena, the Goddess that
caused an olive tree to spring up on the citadel of Athens, thereby becoming the city's patron deity.

So, I gasped, looked at my husband and said, "We HAVE to go you mind?"

I didn't wait for his answer, grabbed his hand and marched in.

I really didn't know what to expect out of this store. The young man behind the counter was clearly a Park City snowboarding transplant, and in fact led off the conversation with his year to date opinion of this year's snow fall in relation to his snowboarding success (not good, by the way).

When he saw that we had a true interest in olive oil, he said, "Well, if you really want to taste a good one, try this." He took a little plastic sample cup and proceeded to open the spigot to one of the copper vats. He started going on about how long it's been aged, where it was sourced and the season the olives were picked. Turns out this guy is an olive oil snob and genius. Loved him.

I Took a Small Sip...

and I was hooked. The olive oil was smooth, not too thick, very subtle undertones of something or rather and I could just imagine it going nicely over a coleslaw for sure. Never in my life have I had tasting an oil bring to mind any of these thoughts before.

I asked him if I could just start tasting all the different varieties? It seemed like there must have been about 100 vats in the store. He said, "Sure, man...that's why the vats are here!"

He then goes on to inform me that the balsamic vinegars are along the back wall and that the infused oils are on the opposite side of the store. There was some dipping bread there, but I decided that that might cloud the full effect of the oil and just went for it.

The Mormon Version of Wine Tasting

All of the sudden I turned in to some wanna be wine taster.
The Natural Butter EVOO? Um, yeah...I will bathe in that one please. The Organic Phoenician....that is something no one who loves nuts should be without. The Australian olive oil?Not so much a fan - tasted too strong of grass and pepper. But all the infused oils - I loved every single one, I can't even tell you.

But the Leccino Olive Oil...that's the one we bought. Yum. I was blown away by how different and complex this one little olive could get. I don't know if I can ever ever buy olive oil off the shelf anymore.

But wait! There's more. The vinegars. Get out of town! They were awesome. Pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry, lavender, blackberry, chocolate, vanilla, coconut. No, I'm not joking. Drinking them straight was a pleasure.

My husband and I walked out of there $15 poorer but with this simple sensory experience we will never forget. I appreciated olive oil before, but will never look at it the same again.

Should you ever find yourself in Salt Lake (or Park City), this is one store not to miss. In fact, make a date night of it, you won't regret it. Mountain Town Olive Oil Co - go to there. One of the coolest places ever (and, I'm not even getting paid for saying it).