Town & Country

June 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 7

Country Town & MANITOBA Editor: Pat St. Germain – S E L K I R K BUSINESS IS BOOMING The explosive growth of Blast-Off Fireworks PG 2 Saturday, June 17, 2017 RESCUE ME Volunteers hope to build shelter for homeless animals S E L K I R K PG 4 PG 5 START ME UP North Forge East promotes entrepreneurship in Pinawa P I N A W A BY WENDY KING B reeze into a retail store and you generally know what to expect, and act accordingly. Walk into the retail tasting room in Prairie Oils and Vinegars for the first time and you might react a little differently. "We've seen people walk in the door and just stop," says owner Bev Penner. "I remember the first time I walked into a tasting room, and I was like, 'What is this?' " A tasting room is where you can taste all the products before you buy them. Prairie Oils and Vinegars in Steinbach and Winkler specializes in selling au- thentic, quality extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Prairie Oils and Vin- egars in Steinbach and Winkler specializes in selling authentic, quality extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Penner encountered her first oil and vinegar tasting room on a food tour with her husband in Portland, Ore. "I didn't get why people did bread dipping. It just was not my thing. I never enjoyed it, and I didn't like balsamic vin- egars," she says. "But when you're on a food tour and a guy hands you a little cup and says, 'Drink oil,' you drink oil because you're part of a food tour and that's what you do. It blew my mind." Then came the balsamic vinegars. "The first one I tried was a chocolate balsamic with a walnut oil — it was like drinking a liquid brownie," Penner says. "And then my husband and I started to ask how many bottles we could get into our suitcase ..." Penner came home and discovered the closest tasting room was in Sudbury, Ont. Then she read the book Extra Vir- ginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, by Tom Mueller. "I learned how fraudulent the indus- try is in Italy and how we don't know what we're buying in the grocery store," she says. "I became really passionate about it and I wanted my friends and family to be able to come to a store and buy extra virgin olive oil." She set up shop with the aim of selling the real thing in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Customers can explore the tasting room on their own with just a little pre- liminary guidance from the staff, who will explain the procedure and etiquette. "But the best experience is a complete tasting, where we explain what extra vir- gin olive oils are all about and what their properties are," she says. All the information about the oils, which are housed in stainless steel con- tainers called fustis, is on the labels, in- cluding country of origin, crush date, chemical analysis and so on. From there, customers move on to tasting the natur- ally flavoured specialty olive oils and the balsamic vinegars. There is also the question of under- standing authenticity. Much has been documented about the fraudulent olive oil industry, where fake or doctored olive oils are 'cut' with cheaper oils and sold as extra virgin olive in retail settings ... and some of them are popular brands. "They can use anything from canola to a seed oil, or whatever, but they can- not pass a chemistry test which deter- mines whether it can be rated as extra virgin," Penner says. That's a huge concern when home cooks who think they are nourishing their families with healthy oils are ac- tually defrauded into consuming poor quality oils that can be outright harmful. "We have all that information; we can prove the quality of the oil; we have traceability and we can assure you that what we have is legitimate," she says. There is a technique to tasting the oil. "You kind of swirl it in the cup to open up the bouquet, a bit like wine, so you get a better taste and smell of the extra virgin olive oil," Penner says. "It tastes good and it has a nice green, almost grassy smell; a fresh, herbaceous smell, like fresh-cut grass." Olive oil is not a shelf-sustainable product. The crush date is a more accur- ate indicator of the freshness of the oil, apparent in the taste and smell. "It is the juice of a fruit and it will go bad, so for peak freshness, you should buy what you will use within a year," Penner says. "We buy fresh olive oil from the hemi- sphere that has most recently crushed." Northern hemisphere oils from Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and California are crushed in the fall and become available in February. The southern hemisphere oils from Australia, Chile, South Africa, Peru and Uruguay crush in March or April and start selling in the fall. "Every six months, we bring in the freshest new olive oils, which we bottle fresh, in various sizes, right there for our customers," Penner says. "You don't need an appointment to come in for a tasting, but if you have six or more people coming for a visit, it's good to let us know so we can have enough staff on hand to help you." LEARN MORE ONLINE AT PRAIRIEOILS.CA. All About Olive Oils Tasting room clients dabble in oils and vinegars Prairie Oils and Vinegars owner Bev Penner invites customers to drink up and enjoy a variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Photos by Darcy Finley Every six months, we bring in the freshest new olive oils, which we bottle fresh, in various sizes, right there for our customers." " MIXING MARRIAGE & MEDIA Marc & Mandy Show hosts live & work together B L U M E N O R T PG 7 PG 6 ANIMALS AT WORK Wellness farm helps kids and teens S T . M A L O

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Town & Country - June 2017