Taste Oil Vinegar Spice is a brand-new business in downtown Fredericksburg that features a wide selection of oils from around the world and Italian infused vinegar which would dazzle any foodie. Owners George Farrar and Jan Davis first encountered the concept of tasting quality oils in their travels to France and Italy. Later, they encountered a shop in Bar Harbor, Maine that sold both vinegar and oils. At that time this husband and wife team were both commuting up to five hours a day for their consulting jobs. “We are both foodies,” Farrar says, and describes how he and his wife decided to open a store in the Fredericksburg area after finding the same distributor that served the Bar Harbor store they had visited.
They opened their first store in downtown Culpeper in October 2011. “At the Culpeper store we found a huge customer base from Fredericksburg,” says Farrar. One month ago the Fredericksburg location opened at 915 Caroline Street, next to the “Soup and Taco” restaurant. The store has two large rows of stainless steel tanks called “fusti” with taps for dispensing. Atop each fusti sits several tiny disposable plastic cups meant for tasting the different flavors.
The oils are imported from around the globe. During this season many oils come from the Northern Hemisphere, including Italy, Spain and Portugal. In the fall some of the Southern Hemisphere oils, from Argentina and Chile will enter the store. The seventeen or balsamic vinegars, like pomegranate, cherry, dark chocolate and apricot all come from Modena, Italy. The store has suggested “pairings” of oils and vinegars that can be enjoyed together.
Farrar wants his customers to know that most people have not had such fresh, high quality oils, and that the taste really is remarkable. He also wants his customers to understand that kids are encouraged to come in and sample. I have taken my kids to both locations, where they have been invited to sample the selections. I let my kids pick a bottle of their favorites, and we have been enjoying them on salads and in marinades. “I love when the kids try. They may not like everything, and that’s okay. At least they are trying," says Farrar.
Here is a way we used an apricot balsamic vinegar to dress up veggie kabobs. We called it “Summer Marinated Veggie Kabobs”. We picked up most of the veggies, including the purple cauliflower at the Spotsylvania Farmer’s market. You can definitely substitute your favorite veggies.
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup apricot balsamic vinegar
dash of salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
Handful of chopped herbs like Rosemary, basil, mint, thyme
1 cup rough chopped cauliflower
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cups whole mushrooms (cut in half if they are oversized)
½ -1 zucchini sliced ¼ inch thick
½ -1 yellow squash sliced ¼ inch thick
Mix oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs in a jar, shaking until well-mixed. Place veggies in a bowl and pour marinade on top. Marinate 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Place on wooden or metal skewers. Grill over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until barely brown, and slightly soft (I like my veggies to still have a little bite to them). Serve warm.
For more kid-tested recipes, visit doctoryum.com.