For a quick primer on everything you need to know about olive oil and balsamic vinegar, click here.
Who enjoys a field trip? How about one that challenges your taste buds and expands your cooking/baking/beauty repertoires all at once? A visit to Love That Olive checks all the boxes.
Take a couple of steps into the store, and Fusti tanks are lined up like tin soldiers— at customers’ command to serve up samples of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. “Many first-time customers may find it a bit overwhelming due to the abundance of Fusti tanks we have to sample from, but not to worry; staff will walk you through the steps to finding your perfect selections,” owner Terri Chaffer says. “Once you use our oils and vinegars, there is no turning back. It completely changes how you cook.”
Take it from my kitchen—she’s right. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), which is naturally flavored with basil, dill and sweet cream butter, along with Sriracha and peach flavored balsamic vinegars from Love That Olive have upped our snack (popcorn!) and dinner (chicken, fish and salads) games. Alone or with a blend of EVOO and balsamic vinegar has given us more ways to create and elevate mealtime flavor profiles.
“I have always loved to cook and be creative in the kitchen,” Chaffer says. “In years past, I was a flight attendant and had traveled internationally, which began to develop my deep appreciation of foods from around the world.” Through her travels, Chaffer learned more about EVOO, including that some brands aren’t true to their label. “Olive oil is not regulated in the U.S.,” she says. “As long as there is 15 percent or more of ‘real’ [EVOO], the producer can add palm, vegetable, canola, soy or any other oil. More than 72 percent of olive oils are fraudulent in the U.S.”
As Chaffer’s curiosity on the topic grew into knowledge, knowledge blossomed into a dream to own her own olive oil store. Opened in November 2010, Chaffer’s Love That Olive offers 50 varieties of EVOO, nut and seed oils and balsamic vinegars. Twenty-two EVOOs include: basic, all-purpose (organic Italian, Fior Fiore, Primaiolo, Colle Monacesco and Greek); three citrus (Meyer lemon, Persian lime and blood orange); 14 savory (garlic, Tuscan herb, roasted onion, truffle, rosemary, basil, sun dried tomato, hot chili, peppered bacon, dill, pizza olio, sweet cream butter, cinnamon and vanilla).
Customers can also find nut oil (walnut), seed oils (avocado and toasted sesame), dark balsamic vinegars (aged, cherry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, pomegranate, fig, pear, cranberry, apple, chocolate, sweet basil and black walnut), white balsamic vinegars (white, peach, coconut, apricot, lemon, cranberry pear, tangerine, aged white, strawberry, Sriracha, Bourbon and lemon cucumber). Additional gourmet food items and spices are also available.
Love That Olive’s EVOOs are sourced from two families—Adriano from Broccostella, Italy, and Diamantis and Dino from Laconiko, Greece. The balsamic vinegars originate from Modena, Italy. “Our EVOO and balsamic vinegars can make your life very easy,” Chaffer says. “You will enhance your cooking by simply adding a little of both to completely transforming your flavors.”
“I use both [EVOO] and balsamic [vinegars] in many ways. Even though using them for salads is one of the more popular ways, it is definitely not the only way,” Chaffer says. She suggests using them to marinate meats, roast vegetables, add to batters for cakes and brownies, and drizzle over fruit, yogurt or ice cream. Chaffer adds they’re perfect for using with fish and seafood, flavoring water (sparkling or still), adding to pasta, drizzling over a sandwich, adding to smoothies or serving with aged cheese or bread for dipping.
Some home cooks might not be well versed about balsamic vinegars. “Balsamic [vinegars] are made from grapes, which gives it its tartness with an underlying sweetness,” Chaffer says. “There is a fruity, wine like quality. It has a deep richness but very subtle. It can be very tangy or sweet with a syrupy texture. You can use fewer ingredients to provide a big flavor profile.”
Need ideas? Recipes are available at lovethatolive.com and in its cookbook, The Art of the Olive (available at the store and website) Two of Chaffer’s favorite recipes (on the website) are for rosemary and lemon chicken and the 30-second appetizer.
EVOO is also at home in the medicine cabinet.
Chaffer’s commitment to quality oils isn’t just a matter of taste—issues related to health are important to her, too. “Studies show that real extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants [which are said to have anti-cancer properties],” she says. "It reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. Extra virgin olive oil is not associated with weight gain or obesity … It can help treat rheumatoid arthritis and has antibacterial properties.”
“One of our most popular ways to use EVOO is on the skin,” Chaffer says. “EVOO moisturizes, heals and tightens (a natural anti-wrinkle element). You can use it to heal rashes, burns and cuts. Use it daily on the face as a moisturizer and tightener. I use this every single night, and you won’t believe how little you’ll need to use,” adding that it reduces acne and helps reduce rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.
Chaffer suggests using it as an exfoliator for hands and feet, on split cuticles or in hair for softness, manageability and moisture. Think about using it as a makeup remover or to help with diaper rash or cradle cap. “It is also an anti-inflammatory for muscles and joints, just to name a few benefits,” she says.
Consult your health care provider for information related to your health and dietary needs.
Love That Olive customers have their favorites.
Top Selling EVOO
- Fior Fiore
- Tuscan Herb
The Top Selling Balsamic Vinegars
- Aged Balsamic (top selling product over all)
- Cranberry Pear