Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Escape to the Mediterranean


That's what I did last week!

Liquid Gold is a lovely wee olive oil/balsamic vinegar tasting bar found in the Hydrostone Market on Young street. Yes, a tasting bar! For those reading from"away" they have online ordering for some varieties.

The oils and vinegars here are top quality and are kept in metal containers called 'fusti". They are grouped in flavours from very mild to strong. One starts with the softer ones and works up to the more robust flavours using small spoons or tiny cubes of bread to sample them. You can even mix the various oils and vinegars in tiny cups to make dressings.

The oils come from all over the Mediterranean. Spain, Greece, Italy, France...and the vinegars hail from Modena in Italy. The oils are pure, single fruits called cultivars or are cultivars that have been flavoured with yummy partners. In spring/summer, the oils come from the southern hemisphere where the winter crop is harvested between May and July. In the fall & winter, they come from the Mediterranean. I was in heaven!
Myrna Burlock opened the business with Bill MacArthur in September and business is booming. We had a lot of fun with her as she helped us choose what to buy.

Each oil has a card describing where it came from and the flavour profile (very much like a wine) as well as the IOCC standard for it.
IOOC Standards. FFA: Measure of free acidity that indicates decomposition. EVOO must be less than 0.8 OLEIC ACID: A monosaturated Omega-9 fatty acid. It makes up 55-83% of EVOO. PV: Peroxide value. A measure ofrancidity due to oxidization. Must be less than 20,less than 10 for high quality extra virgin olive oil.

People were popping in and out during our visit and Myrna told a story of a husband who brought his foodie wife here for her birthday. He brought a bottle of wine which they opened and a lovely afternoon was spent here sampling all the combinations of flavours. I mean...look at them and those are just some of the oils!

I adored the balsamic vinegars. One of my all time faves was the chocolate balsamic! Really! Remember I said you could mix? I tried blood orange olive oil with the chocolate balsamic, amazing! The vinegars almost taste like liqueurs. There were organic varieties to choose from too.

So what did I choose? It was difficult but I figured it out.

I went for the Koroneiki , a strong green olive oil from Greece

It was one of the robust flavours near the end of the line.

The balsamic vinegar I chose was the Pomegranate balsamic. It was SO hard to choose. I wanted to take them all home. I guess that's why they are doing well:)

So the exciting part of this post is that a local reader or anyone that can physically make it to the store is going to get a bottle each of vinegar and olive oil. Just leave a comment here (before midnight on Sunday, Jan16) and if you are interested, you can follow Liquid Gold on facebook. Oh and if you are lucky, you might get to meet Riley, the resident napper.

24 comments:

Joy said...

I was just down at the Hydrostone a few ago and saw the store. I had my little guy and it was hard enough getting him out of Julien's and LK Yarns.

Such a lovely store, especially to bring gourmet oil and vinegars to Nova Scotia. The napper is adorable, I could nap with him.

margaret said...

I went to an olive oil tasting in Tuscany when I was 18 and it absolutely blew my mind - I will never forget it.

I can't wait to come by for a tasting - for what I imagine will be another unforgettable experience - and get back into oils and vinegars.

BessyN said...

I've been in 3 times to date, and each time have left because it's been SO busy lol!
I am dying to try something though - esp the koroneiki!

annechisholm said...

I love Liquid Gold. A unique business that meets a real need for anyone who loves to cook.

Vickie LeBlanc said...

Never been to an oil tasting and now I want to go. I've never been to the Hydrostone area but it's always been on my list to do. I love dipping bread in oil and vinegar. Thanks for posting this. What did I do before blogging, I sure learned a lot since I've been in blogland.

Melanie said...

Oh, I've so been wanting to try this place out. No good excuse for not making it there - my office is on Young St!

Suzie Ridler said...

Very cool idea for a foodie store, I had no idea it existed and now I want to check it out! Love that you can do tastings, so important, otherwise it would be impossible to choose. Wonderful post Shelagh!

happeningsonchaosranch said...

I'm not local, so I'm not going to be in the drawing. Just wanted to tell you what a delight this post was to see and read in this dreary weather! Thank you! Sounds heavenly. Enjoy!

Sharon

vcastle said...

Olive Oil is awesome - thanks for having a great vision & store

Kim Humes said...

I was in this place a couple of mths ago, Shelagh, it's awesome! My mom got some Tuscan Herb OO and it's delicious! Esp good to grill a cheese sandwich (or like I did this weekend, artisan bread with slices of cheese and avocado - mmmmmm). I love the doggie too, in true me fashion I spent half my time in the store petting him lol

Patrice said...

I love tasting olive oils - sounds yummy!

lynda said...

I was lucky enough to get some oils from here for christmas, can't wait to check it out for real although your photos capture the essence of the shop beautifully!

Anonymous said...

Very excited to try this place soon. Such a wonderful addition to the Hydrostone!
-Lisa Y

Micheline said...

You stumble across the best places. Liquid Gold indeed.

Sara said...

I'll have to add this on my list for our next trek in to Halifax. Oh. My.

anna said...

what a lovely lovely place!..
love your photos, too!

Renee said...

You did a lovely job showcasing the store. Oh my mouth is watering just thinking of the oils and vinegars!

Kristine said...

This place looks amazing! I don't know if it is your photos, the actual shop, or both but wow! I've never been to an oil tasting bar before but now I that I know this place exists I am going to have to make a point of stopping by. Thanks for this great post!

Anonymous said...

This place is so cute - the colours are so bright and everything is shiny and pretty. The oils and vinegars are wonderful - alone or combined! cec

Angie All The Way said...

Oookayyy...hooooold the phone!!!! I am the biggest balsamic vinegar lover in HRM (ok except for the people who opened the tasting bar :-D). I treat myself to a bottle of Williams Sonoma balsamic vinegar any time I'm ever in an area with a store! I'm absolutely going to make it to this place! Thanks for telling us about it!

JenP said...

yum! i bought some christmas gifts there this year. but i've yet to treat myself to the lovely oils and vinegars.

Katie May (or may not) said...

Very interesting! It never occurred to me there might be a place offering such a thing! Sounds delicious. If I ever make the trek from Saskatchewan to Halifax, this is one place I'm definitely going to visit.

Katherine said...

This post is great! Love the photos and can't wait to make it in to the store next time we hit the 'fax!

myrna said...

Hey - it's Myrna of Liquid Gold. Thanks for all this 'cause it's a blast to read. It's almost as rewarding as seeing people, every single day, get absolutely jazzed on the freshest extra virgin oils there are in two hemishperes. BTW, the grilled cheese and avocado thing is my husbands. It proves that EVOO can makes any food gourmet, including a grilled cheese sandwich!