I was in Huntington (village) yesterday and accidentally happened upon a great new little store called The Crushed Olive, at 278 Main Street (Rte 25a). They sell about 25 different varieties of olive oil, and an equal number of balsamic vinegars, all presented in a "tasting room" environment.
This is NOT anything like the small tasting areas in stores like Fairway, btw. Inside the shop you can walk among oak tables on which there are individual stainless steel mini-vats (kind of like miniature beer brewing vats, LOL), one for each separate variety of olive oil or vinegar. Each vat has a descriptive sign telling you the name and flavor characteristics; there is also a printed sheet so that you can keep track of your favorites as you go along (very handy!). Next to each vat are tiny disposable cups and closed jars of squares of good fresh bread so that you can dip into whatever you decide to sample, right from the vat.
If you decide to purchase any, there are two sizes of bottles and the shop owner will fill your choice for you directly from the vat, cork it, and seal it. So you are absolutely sure of getting exactly what you just tasted. The vat labels are marked with the date of the pressing that it contains, by the way.
They also sell some other items, including specialty sea salts (one is Black Truffle) but the focus of the store is olive oil and vinegars. There are white balsamics as well as dark (I happen to be a white balsamic fan myself and there are 6 or 7 to choose from).
I walked out with 3 bottles of olive oil (Arbequina from Portugal, Arbosana from Spain, and Sweet Barnea from Australia) and 3 of white balsamic vinegars (Peach, Pineapple, and Cranberry Pear). The shop is spotlessly clean and the whole tasting experience was awesome because unlike store displays, you can sample EVERY one, not just one or two bottles that happen to be open since who knows when.
Right now the store in Huntington is the only location but they are going to be opening one in Stony Brook in time for the holidays.
FYI, other than the 3 oils I purchased, here are the other current ones for sale: Athenolia (Greece), Cerasuola (Sicily), Chemali (Tunisia), Hojiblanca, Koroneiki (Greece), Manzanillo (California), Nocellaro deBelice (Sicily), Picholine (France), Basil, Blood Orange, Butter, Ciliantro & Roasted Onion, Eureka Lemon, Garlic, Herbs de Provence, Persian Lime, Roasted Walnut, Tuscan Herb, Wild Mushroom & Sage, Black Truffle, and White Truffle.
And the balsamic vinegars: 18-year Aged Traditional, Black Cherry, Blackberry Ginger, Blueberry, Champagne Vinegar, Cinnamon Pear, Dark Chocolate (yes they actually can put chocolate into vinegar!), Espresso, Fig, Honey Ginger White, Lavender, Oregano White, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Red Apple, Sherry Reserva, Sicilian Lemon White, Strawberry, Tangerine, and Vanilla.
IMHO, absolutely worth a visit if you are at all into olive oil and/or balsamic vinegars. Why hasn't anyone come up with this idea sooner???
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