Local Love: Con’ Olio Oils & Vinegars

18 May

I suppose it was rather appropriate that I visited Con’ Olio on the Sabbath (Sunday, for any heathens reading) because it was a teaser of what foodie heaven would be like.  So now, I’m taking it upon myself to spread the gospel of gourmet olive oils and vinegars.  The minute I walked in, I wanted to let out a loud squee!, but thought the better of it; after all, this wasn’t some boy band concert at the Erwin Center (but if you’d like to join me in extolling the virtues of ‘N Sync versus New Kids on the Block, email me! [note: I do not condone this boy band activity-B]).  Housed in the Arboretum shopping center next door to Nine West, this charming little store has walls lined with silver canisters that are filled with infused olive oils and vinegars. Customers are free to sample every single one. Did I mention squeee!?

I began my sampling buffet with a grapefruit balsamic, which was sharp and tart. I immediately loved it. Moving on, the fig balsamic was sweet and reminded me of dessert. Upon the suggestion of another patron, I also tried an espresso balsamic, which was nothing like I expected. The espresso flavor was present, and on steroids. It was so full-bodied and complex that I felt like I was tasting a wine.

Next up were the olive oils; in total, I tried five. The natural butter extra virgin olive oil definitely delivered on the buttery notes, so much so that one saleswoman suggested refrigerating it and using it as a replacement for actual butter. The garlic oil was a garlic lover’s dream (though the garlic lover’s partner would surely take issue), and the herbes de Provence oil offered up the best of your herb garden. Their chipolte-infused oil would have been right at home on the grill with its slight smokiness and heat, and the cilantro onion oil – which was my final tasting – evoked visions of summer with its fresh, light flavor.

The two sales ladies manning the store that afternoon were super helpful and knowledgeable, and I left with a recipe that incorporates the grapefruit balsamic – a pickled fennel dish and a cocktail with a bit of the oil mixed with vodka. In addition to the recipes, I walked away with a grapefruit balsamic vinegar,  and bottles of cilantro onion and Italian grapeseed oil. The balsamic and grapeseed oil make a fantastic vinagrette!

I made a point to add my name to their mailing list (which affords me coupons and special deals) and will definitely return to this place. Anyone with an Austin Go Local card can score 10% off, so even if you’re not a mailing list type person, you can still reap the benefits. Pay them a visit, you won’t regret it.

– A

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One Response to “Local Love: Con’ Olio Oils & Vinegars”

  1. cyndie June 14, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    oooh! i love this place. yay.
    we seriously need to eat together!

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