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.  : )


I wake up hungry, sooo I figure Lobster for breakfast.  I dress and head to the Lobster Tent.  I figure today I need the double Lobster Dinner.

Afterward I head out to walk.  It’s a good way to burn off the calories from the butter, as well as a great way to explore the town.

The weather is beautiful, and I head down to the waterfront.

From there I venture into some of the neighborhoods,

and end up back on main street.

I browse through the shops and stores, previewing what I might like to take home with me . . . when I come upon Fiore’s.

I s o o o o o   loved this place, that I am devoting a whole blog entry to it.  So be sure to tune it.  You cooks won’t want to miss it.

Well this trip really was all about the Lobsters. So here’s there sad, tragic, but delicious  story.

These guys were my hosts.  I would name them, but really you shouldn’t get to attached.

So they were sitting here on the ledge.  They momentarily have the good life.  Posing for pictures,  being held by humans, as they stick there heads in cut outs for even more crazy pictures.  But they must know why they are really there . . . . . .right???

For the Hi-Tech Lobster Hot Tub.

Now you know you should always limit your time in a hot tube.  Because though it feels good, you can over do it.

And then we have to call the rescue squad.  Though it is extremely hot and steamy, Don’t worry the Lobster Fest Volunteers, have it covered.

Hang on Guys, we’ll get you out of there in a few.

Come on – It will be alright.  You are going to a better place.

The Better Place . . . . The Lobster Tent

Meanwhile, back in the real world. The line at the Lobster Tent, gets longer. (Greedy Humans!)

Can you blame us.  Unless you live in Maine, where are you going to beat these prices.  The Lobster IS the Star!

Now I know you are ready to get out of there, but just a few more minutes in recovery, while we get the human under control.

Look I got my own private room.

Yes, we do accomodate couples.

Now you guys are just weird, but to each his own!

Well, my new friends are waiting for me.  They just wanted me to tell their story.  There is no need for you to worry, they are in a better place.

Wednesday morning  –  I check out of my hostel.  My bus to Rockland leaves at 1:00 p.m., so I figure after map questing the route to the bus station that I may be able to get to Sam Lagrassa’s before my bus leaves.  So I set out for the other side of town.

I arrive at my destination (that I couldn’t find yesterday), to have my sandwich and it’s 10:40 and they don’t open til 11:00.  They have a take out door, and after talking to the guy telling me that they are not open yet, he says he’ll let me place a take out order.

So I order the Chipotle Pastrami, that Guy Fieri had on the show.  I take it with me and follow my directions to get to the bus terminal.

I find it easy enough, and eat some of my sandwich while waiting for the bus.  Wow, it is really good.  I bet it would have been great at the restaurant.  We load onto the bus and we head out right on time.  Our bus driver sings – yes, you heard right, a singing bus driver, and he’s not bad.  It makes for an interesting experience.

I pull into Rockland about 4:30.  I see a Ferris Wheel, indicating where the Lobster Fest is to take place.  As we make a left turn, I see my hotel – it is right across the street from the Festival.  (Good choice – I did good!)  The terminal is about 3 blocks from the hotel, as I walk the distance down Main street in Rockland.  There are many restaurants and shops, that I am tempted to go into, but I have 4 days to explore all of these places and leave here with a through knowledge of downtown Rockland.

After I settle in I head over to the Lobster Fest, buy my 4 day pass and head to the Lobster Tent.  I start my  fest with the Single Lobster Dinner.  Hmmm what a great way to begin!