Friday, February 18, 2011

Olivier St. Helena

Olivier is a local French-themed olive oil and condiment shop located on Main St (Hwy 29) in St. Helena. (On a recent visit to Northstar-at-Tahoe for some snowboarding, I noticed they also now have a shop right there at the Northstar base camp, as well as a little bistro!)

The ambience is light and airy, provencal-type decor and colors... warm yellows, olive green, lots of artisan cookware, etc. A small, cozy atmosphere that is only made more enticing my plenty of sample trays out for dressings, dipping oils, barbeque sauces, various condiments/dips, vinegars, and four large copper kettles of various varietals of virgin olive oil.

This was not my first time here, but it is always changing -- some things stay the same, but their line of sauces and dips seems to be ever-expanding, with most recent additions being barbeque sauces and salad dressings. On my first visit, the things that really stood out were the arbequina olive oil -- a particular strain of olive which has a somewhat floral flavor less grassy and a little more honey suckle than your typical store-bought extra virgin -- as well as the white bean and sage dip, which was possibly the best and most addictive bean dip I had ever had, but unfortunately they changed up the recipe and it's not nearly as good now (they took out the lactic acid and replaced it with lemon juice, added additional parmesan... the flavor is a little more tart and not nearly as wonderful as it was 2 years ago).

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