Every once and a while life brings you such wonderful experiences that you just have to share them in the hopes that someone else might have a similarly wonderful experience. I enjoy walking downtown Santa Fe as you never know what you might find or what will find you. On my last adventure through downtown Santa fe, I thought I had gotten lost when I found myself on Don Gaspar Street between West San Francisco Street and Water Street. A friend of mine had told me about this little place downtown that sells olive oil. Right before my very eyes was a small shop tucked away called “Santa Fe Olive Oil”. I went inside and found myself surrounded by more balsamic vinegars and olive oils I had ever in my life seen.
It was clear they had just opened as the shop was not completely setup but was welcoming nonetheless. The two people, Paul and Samantha, who I can only assume are the owners of this shop greeted me and asked me if I would like to try some of their product. My first thoughts were- I really do not know about sampling olive oil and balsamic vinegar- what if I get sick?! On the other hand I thought- you know, why not! Paul led me around the store and explained how they only use the finest ingredients for their oil and balsamics from Spain and Italy. He was very proud each time he served me a small sample of balsamic or olive oil and carefully explained where that specific one came from. The first one I sampled became an instant favorite. It was an 18 year old balsamic vinegar. It had a beautiful dark color, a wonderfully sweet aroma, and the flavor- PERFECT! It did not have the bitter or sour flavor that all other balsamic vinegars I’ve tried had left on my pallette. It was surprisingly sweet yet bold and in a very contradictory way, almost delicate. I fell in love! All I could think about was having a large spinach salad with tomatoes, avocados, and parmesan cheese drizzled with that balsamic. I placed my thoughts of my next meal on the back burner as he then allowed me to try their pear balsamic, wild blueberry balsamic, and black cherry balsamic. They were all so very interesting and delicious in their own way. Along with each sample of balsamic, Paul shared his favorite foods to pair them with. The most interesting one which I will have to work up the gull to try will be the wild blueberry balsamic with ice cream!
After the medley of balsamic vinegars, Paul introduced the varieties of extra virgin olive oils. He immediately stated that they already sold out of the garlic extra virgin olive oil though they had only been open for two weeks. He proudly served their Arbequina extra virgin olive oil. It had such a fresh aroma and a very buttery flavor. This oil was remarkably smooth and did not leave a regretable remnant as I had initially thought it might. I started to imagine all of the wonderful dishes that could be born from the use of this oil. My dreaming was short lived as I was handed a sample of their jalapeno extra virgin olive oil. Now this was interesting! It had a lightly smokey flavor and the mild flavor of jalapeno caught the back of the throat. I also sampled the basil oil, chile oil, and persian lime oil. All of them so delicious and unique!
At the end of it all, I purchased a bottle of the 18 year old balsamic vinegar, thanked them for their time, and promised that I would return. I journied back to my car full of excitement for the spinach salad I had dreamt of earlier. I cannot wait for my return visit as they will be getting the rest of their shipments to complete their store very soon. Paul also mentioned that soon they will have a variety of foods to sample the products with. How exciting! The best part, if anyone cannot make it to downtown Santa Fe, I was told they have seven stores across the U.S. and that they ship! Great christmas gift idea!!