Monday, April 11, 2011

Olive Grand Tasting Bar and Delicious Giveaway

I spent the night of my birthday in the emergency room with my husband. (He's feeling much better now!) But as soon as he was well enough, we decided to celebrate my special day in grand style! We began our celebration with a trip to our local Olive Oil tasting bar, Olive Grand. I've never been much of a barfly, but that could all change now. This fabulous marketplace sells the most wonderful olive oils and balsamic vinegars (balsamic is my one true weakness), along with an assortment of teas, pasta, spices, cookbooks, and artistic treasures.


As part of Eugene's First Friday Artwalk, several artisans were in attendance at Olive Grand the evening we visited. Giovanni Angello, owner of Sorella Luna Gallery in Portland was there showing off his spectacularly beautiful imported pottery from Deruda, Italy. (I'll write more about Giovanni and his amazing gallery in a future post, so stay tuned!)


How blessed I feel to have been gifted with this gorgeous cheese plate. Thank you, Giovanni! It makes me wish I had some lovely Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses or Ste Martaan on hand. (Click on the pic to see a more detailed closeup of this colorful plate.)


Michelle McLaughlin of Copper Moon Artisans was there, with some of her partner Chardin Reascos' beautiful pre-Columbian-inspired embossed copper designs on handmade paper made from recycled newspaper and banana leaves.


Owners Tamara and Michael have created a beautiful and inviting haven for foodies and art lovers, alike. But the centerpiece of Olive Grand is the tasting bar, where you can sample shots of delectably flavored extra-virgin olive oils paired with some of the most amazing flavor-infused balsamic vinegars. Here, Tamara is pouring Mark one of his favorites, Blood Orange Olive Oil with Chocolate Balsamic!


As with wine tasting, there's an art to tasting olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You want to first warm the cup between your hands, then swirl the oil and vinegar around, take a small sip, and let the flavors melt on your tongue before swallowing.


I prefer to dip a small piece of Italian bread into the delicious mixture. This time it's a citrusy Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Blueberry Balsamic. It reminded me of a lemon and blueberry poppyseed muffin. So good!!!


The most difficult part of visiting Olive Grand is deciding which flavors to take home with you. They're all so amazing. In addition to the two pairings mentioned above we also tasted Peach Olive Oil with Cherry Balsamic and Rosemary Olive Oil with Chocolate Balsamic, which were both crazy good!

Explore these along with all of their other incredible flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars online at Olive Grand. And don't fret if you find something that sounds enticing. (Did I mention their Chardonnay Wine Vinegar?) They can ship to anywhere in the US and Canada. 

Here's a quick and easy appetizer that will make your tongue dance. You can choose any combination of  olive oil and balsamic. Let your creativity run wild!

Dreamy Basil and Balsamic Bruschetta

1/2 cup balsamic (I used fig)
2-3 Tbs olive oil (I used lemon)
1 large tomato, diced small
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
10-12 slices Italian or French bread

Directions:

Place  olive oil and balsamic in a small bowl. Stir gently to combine. Add chopped tomato and basil and mix to coat.  Toast bread slices, and spoon mixture over bread. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings. 


And now for the really fun part: One lucky reader is going to win a fabulous Mediterranean Bread Dipping Set—complete with a delicately balanced Spanish Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a sweet and syrupy Fig Balsamic Vinegar (my personal favorite!), and Olive Grand's own Mediterranean Bread Dipping Spice Blend with hints of Lemon and Garlic. The set also comes with two beautiful pour spouts so you can control how much you pour and savor the precious contents of your new bottles awhile longer. This is truly a Mediterranean food-lover's dream!


To enter to win, simply visit Olive Grand's website and come back here and leave a comment telling me which oil and vinegar pairing sounds most delicious to you. Please do make sure to include your email address in your comment so I can contact you if when you win.

If you'd like to earn additional entries, you can do any or all of the following. (Please leave a separate comment for each action you take, and you'll receive an additional entry for each one!)

1. Follow this blog by clicking the "Follow" link in the upper left-hand corner of this page.
4. Follow me on Twitter.
5. Tweet this message: Enter to #win a Mediterranean Food-lover's Olive Oil & Balsamic Bread-Dipping Set from @Vegiegail & @OliveGrand! http://bit.ly/fXT0xx

The winner will be chosen at random before my next post. Good luck! Oh, and I'll be sharing the rest of how we celebrated my birthday in my next delicious post. Ciao!

69 comments:

avegangirl said...

That looks like a wonderful place! We don't have anything like that here in town. I would LOVE to win this gift set! The lime olive oil and chocolate balsamic sound heavenly.

VeganMarr said...

That plate is gorgeous. Love the copper embossed art!

Noelle said...

Wow, lots od great places, especially that pottery! I would a few plates of those! Now as far as combinaitons go, I think I would do the Lime Olive oil and the Wild Cherry Balsamic Vinegar. YUM! Thanks for the giveaway! noellsky (at) gmail (dot) com

Meryl Ann said...

O-o-o-o-o I have to go with the lime olive oil too - i would pair it with the peace balsamic vinegar (there was chocolate? I didnt see that one)...wowo I want to try the peach on my So Delicious coconut milk "ice cream" yum!

Noelle said...

I like OliveGrand on Facebook!

Noelle said...

I already follow HUngry Vegan on Newtworked Blogs!

Noelle said...

I already follow you on twitter @singerinkitchen

Noelle said...

I tweeted! http://twitter.com/#!/singerinkitchen/status/57482639350837248

Christie said...

YUM! Fig balsamic and rosemary olive oil! Yes! Yes! Yes! I'm salivating over here. What a neat place!

Christie said...

I like Olive Grand on Facebook!

Christie said...

I follow Hungry Vegan blog!

Gabriella said...

Love this post and giveaway! Mandarin Orange Olive Oil and Wild Cherry Balsamic sounds fantastic to me.

Gabriella said...

I follow you on twitter. @gfgabriella

Gabriella said...

I tweeted this!

Elisabeth said...

WOW! What a great selection of oils and vinegars and spices! I would love to try the Lemon Olive Oil and Fig or Wild Cherry Balsamic Vinegar.
czech.vegan (at) yahoo.com

Joan said...

What a cool place! I'd LOVE to win the gift set. I'm such a huge balsamic vinegar freak, and having those pour spouts would help me stop wasting so much. They have so many delicious flavors. Chili olive oil and chocolate balsamic sounds pretty amazing.

The plate is gorgeous, btw. Thanks for the giveaway!

Elisabeth said...

I already follow your blog
czech.vegan (at) yahoo.com

Abby Bean said...

There is something about olive oil establishments & pottery!

Elisabeth said...

I like Olive Grand on Facebook

Elisabeth said...

I already follow your on Twitter @ CzechVeganBlog
czech.vegan (at) yahoo.com

Joan said...

I tweeted it!

Elisabeth said...

I tweeted @CzechVeganBlog
czech.vegan (at) yahoo.com

Joan said...

My first comment seems to have gone missing! LOL! I'd love to win this gift basked, because I'm such a huge balsamic vinegar freak. The chili olive oil and chocolate balsamic sound like they would be amazing together. Thanks for the great giveaway!

Helen said...

Olive Grand looks like such a marvelous place to hang out! I'd love to try all of their flavor-infused balsamics, especially the fig and dark cherry!

Helen said...

Wait, wait! Blueberry Balsamic sounds pretty delicious, too! I follow Hungry Vegan.

The Vegan said...

You always blog about the best stuff!!!

Mandarin Orange Olive Oil and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

The Vegan said...

I like Olive Grand on FB.

The Vegan said...

I Follow Hungry Vegan on Networked Blogs.

The Vegan said...

I follow you on twitter.

The Vegan said...

And finally I tweeted the message.
:-)

Sarah said...

YUM! I agree with what Arnold said. You DO always blog about the best stuff! I would LOVE to try their blueberry balsamic and mandarin orange olive oil. And I'd definitely love to visit Olive Grand to taste all of their EVOOs and vinegars and see that beautiful Italian pottery! What a great giveaway! Fingers crossed!

The Vegan said...

BTW sorry you had to spend your birthday that way although it looks like you made up for it.

:-)

PurpleLarkspur said...

I also have to go with the lime olive oil and chocolate balsamic sound. Wow!!!

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

PurpleLarkspur said...

I follow you on Twitter. I am @purplelarkspur

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

PurpleLarkspur said...

Tweet! http://twitter.com/#!/PurpleLarkspur/status/57591150332215296

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

Erin said...

This sounds the yummiest: Organic Rosemary Olive Oil.

Erin said...

Liked olive grand on fb (erin d)

Erin said...

I follow you on twitter (erin_d...)

Radym said...

OMG... blood orange olive oil and fig balsamic is where it's at.

iwillresist(at)gmail.com

Millie said...

that's a beautiful plate Gail...love it.

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

We went to a place like this in San Jose. Had to drag me out with a tractor, I loved it SO SO SO much!!

Chili olive oil and chocolate balsamic. FOR THE WIN.

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Annnnd I twittered or tweeted or twitted...

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Annnnd I already folLow you on tWITTER.

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Annnnd I "liked" the Olive Grove

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Annnnnnnnd I follow your blog OF COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Annnnnnnnd I follow your blog OF COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vegiegail said...

@Tofu_Mom LOVE your tractor comment! That's how I feel every time I visit Olive Grand!

Randy said...

I'd love to win this giveaway! Olive Grand looks like a really neat place! And the pottery from Sorella Luna Gallery is gorgeous!

I think I'd try blueberry balsamic with lemon olive oil. That combination reminds me of my favorite scones.

Randy said...

I tweeted this!

debbie graul said...

The Blood orange olive oil with the traditional balsamic sounds delicious! I would love to visit there someday!
graul.dg (at) gmail (dot) com

debbie graul said...

I like Olive Grand on facebook (@Debbie G)

graul.dg (at) gmail (dot) com

debbie graul said...

I follow you on twitter (@blackrains)

graul.dg (at) gmail (dot) com

qtbern said...

OMG, I would be in heaven.....I like the thought of pairing a bit of Lemon and Lime Olive Oil with the Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar. Yummy!
Oops forgot to include my email so I can claim my prize. Thanks for the give aways!
qtbern1@yahoo.com

Angel said...

WOW! EVOO and balsamic? Are you kidding? And do I have to pick just ONE pairing? I mean, chocolate and orange, blueberry and lemon, peach and lime—they all sound amazing!

Angel said...

I follow your blog!

Angel said...

I tweeted this!

Dustin Tapp said...

I think when I go I'll def have to try out fig balsamic with rosemary olive oil. Made sure to like this also so people on the coast are aware it exists :)

Alan Roettinger said...

I'm in! If I had to choose only one combination, I'd go for the Blood Orange EVOO and "traditional" balsamic. Simple, deep, elegant.

I've used a black cherry balsamic by itself, on quartered fresh figs, with fresh mint chiffonade, if that counts...

Andrea K. said...

I would go with a pairing of the Olive Grand Garlic Olive Oil and the Olive Grand Fig Balsamic on a spinach salad (containing pumpkin seeds, pears, smoked tempeh and pecans) for dinner, and a dessert of vanilla So Delicious coconut milk ice cream drizzled with Olive Grand Wild Cherry Balsamic, accompanied by a vegan biscotti. YUM!

Jamie Tic said...

Yay! I love Olive Grand!! How amazing!!!! Definitely liking them, contest or not :) I don't Twitter so I can't follow you :*( And you obviously kn ow I follow you here <3 I have no thing that exciting where I live...you are soooooo lucky!! *heaven*

Paula said...

I'd love to win this! Olive Grand looks like such a cool place! Blueberry balsamic and orange olive oil sounds good to me! petersdotpaulaatrocketmaildotcom

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Entering because I thought I did, I KNOW I tweeted, but maybe forgot to post? I can't find my ohthter entry...
chili oil and chocolate vinegar... yes!!

eclairre said...

Fig balsamic and rosemary olive oil sounds FAB!! :) MMM!!

Olivia said...

Apple Balsamic (or Fig) with Rosemary Olive Oil! YES!

ikkinlala said...

I'd love to try the mandarin orange olive oil with the fig balsamic vinegar.

ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

Gabriella said...

I tweeted this!

kolpin said...

the Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar and Lemon Olive Oil
kolpin4680 at gmail dot com

kolpin said...

follow your blog
kolpin
kolpin4680 at gmail dot com

kolpin said...

twitter follower @kolpin4680
kolpin4680 at gmail dot com