While in Rockland, I found Fiore’s.  As the sign says the sell Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars.  Now I never gave my olive oils much thought past whether it was Virgin or Extra Virgin, and maybe the quality of one brand over another.  Well, unfortunately those days of blissful ignorance are gone forever.

I walk in and all the outer walls are lined with these small metal barrels.  I hear a voice asking me if I’d been here before.  When I say no, the lady says, “Well, you know this is a tasting bar.”

She then tells me how the store is divided into sections.  Red or dark Balsamic Vinegars are first. Then White Balsamic Vinegars, in the next section.  Followed by 2 walls of Olive Oils, plain in the first section and flavored in the second section.

I started with the Whites.  My first sample was the Summer White Peace.  Oh my . . . I could have just pour a glass and drank it.  I moved on to the strawberry, and the grapefruit.  They were just as delicious.  The flavor of each one was so pronounced that there was no mistaking the fruit it was flavored with.

I then moved to the Reds.  My friendly clerk was back, and she encouraged me to try the vinegars that were aged 18 years, as opposed to the standard 12 and to compare the difference.  Of course like anything that is aged, wine or beef, the older the better.  Well I fell in love with the Vanilla.  It has a rich deep flavor, that I can’t wait to experiment with.

She then encouraged me to try her newest vinegar, Espresso.  I’m thinking coffee flavored vinegar . . . hmmm.  But again, WOW, this was beyond good.  So, I ask her what would I use this on.  (Cause I’m pretty sure that just pouring it in my hand and licking my fingers is not it’s most practical use.)  She says have you tried it with the olive oils. . . . . ?

. . . . . Of course I haven’t, I’ve been too busy drinking vinegar.  She then begins to mix the vinegars I seem to like the best with different olive oils for me to taste.  One that could be paired with all of the above vinegars was this Blood Orange EVOO.  Again, she is good – because the different pairing bring a whole new dynamic to the flavor.  She begins to tell me how I can use the different combos on  — Salads, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, cheeses.  By now I’m taking notes, (and pictures) of my favorites.

The shop bottles your picks right there when you buy them.  They come in 3 sizes, and good thing for me they will ship them.  I returned on another day, to have a equally nice and informative clerk.  I try a few more get more ideas as well as information on the shipping process.  I promise to come back right before I leave to finalize my purchases and the shipping.

small & medium bottle

When I go in Sunday morning, on my way to the bus station and home, the Espresso that had just arrived on my first day in the store (I went back 3 times before I left Rockland), was sold out Sunday when I was buying and leaving.   I was heart broken —  when they lady, who gave me my tour on my first day (I unfortunately didn’t get her name – though she turned out to be the owner), comes out and says, “Oh, I think there’s enough in there for one small bottle.”  And she went in the back to I guess “literally” Scrape the Barrel.

I spent $80 on oils & vinegars on my last day in Rockland.  I got 4 vinegars and 2 oils, and they shipped them back to AZ for me.  My six bottles arrived well packaged and in one piece.  So I am a happy camper.  Be sure to look for the creations that come from this purchase.  I already know I’ll be ordering more.  : )