For the Ottawa holiday crowd: ever heard of an “olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar?”
Neither had I. But in the Glebe, “The Unrefined Olive” has just recently opened its doors.
I found it completely by accident, when I was out and about with someone in whose company surprising things always seem to happen.
In the vats pictured above are a vast number of different olive oils, straight, citrus-flavoured, chipotle-infused, harissa-tinctured, whatever. And balsamic vinegar? The Unrefined Olive offers an 18-year-old one (at an extremely reasonable price, by the way), but if you want to be more adventurous they have a chocolate one, a pomegranate one, a tangerine one, a blackberry ginger one…
And the Olive also carries black truffle sea-salt, porcini mushroom oil and many other items that no serious kitchen should be without.
But their amazing exotic stock isn’t the best thing. It’s the fact that you can wander along the tables tasting as you go. If you like something, you have your choice of bottles to fill. If not, the pleasant staff will treat you with the utmost courtesy, and express the hope that you return.
Seriously, go. The Olive is a place that comes to you straight from the imagination. I, for one, will be going back, and back.