It was late in life before I “took to” mushrooms, probably because there really wasn’t that much exposure to them when I was growing up, though my mother was fond of using cream of mushroom soup for too many things.
Not the same with olives, however, even though they were another scarcity in my home – reserved for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. No idea why. I started to get excited about mushrooms after talking to ‘shroom people at farmer’s markets and experimenting with them. Then I moved into truffles and it was like a gift from heaven.
I have avoided olive shortages by curing my own at home, buying raw (fresh) ones from Penna, a California grower. They are available to purchase every September or so, and the process is time consuming, but not terribly difficult.
While I generally try and avoid tourist destinations, I found myself in one, Lake Geneva (the Wisconsin one, not the good one) the other day and walked by an olive oil store. You see these springing up in most cities, and while I wouldn’t have thought they had staying power, the Olive Oil Store in Lake Geneva proprietoress told me she opened in 2008. That’s pretty good longevity for any specialty retailer.
Olive oil stores have (generally) dozens of flavored olive oils, in large urns, and you can purchase your selection by the pint, quarter or 55 gallon drum probably. You’re also able to have samples. Other items in the store include oil olive goods like soap and spreads, though curiously, few actual olives.
A truffle pate made by Stonewall Kitchen of Maine caught my eye. No idea (or clue) where the truffles are from, the best ones in the world come from Italy and France, but they have started to grow some in the US, Oregon has got it going in that regard, as to the Carolinas and some other states.
If you’re interested in the truffle biz, there’s a lighthearted novel about it by Peter Mayle, Anything Goes. Mayle is a British expat that has written a series of novels about living in France. Pretty funny stuff.
The truffle pate? Excellent. Very earthy. Natural ingredients. At less than $10, a bargain compared to pure imported stuff. Think I’ve paid about $40 for a 2 oz tube of black truffle paste before!
Nice store, nice selection, nice people. Go. Buy. (None of these photos are mine, credit to owners).
Olive Oil Stores Review