05 Aug

Oil & Vinegar

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By Vince Gerasol,

(CBS) SKOKIE They’re small, but flavorful. There are more than 70 kinds of olives, and their oils are finding their way into more and more kitchens.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports there are many ways to fit olive oil into your Table for 2.

Whether in bottles or in tins, ethnic markets have long been the best place to find a deep selection of extra virgin olive oil.

The precious juice of the olive tree produced when its fruit is pressed tight can be traced back to the Mediterranean 24 years ago.

“Olive oil can become like a sauce,” said Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano.

In this millennium, top chefs like Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano acknowledge a wider audience is developing a taste for olive oils.

“After the pasta is cooked and you swirl in some extra virgin olive oil, that aroma, the heat of the pasta is going to release all those great flavors and aromas of the olive oil,” Mantuano said.

Olive oil from all over the world can now be purchased on tap at Oil and Vinegar, a unique epicurean boutique in Skokie.

“Olives take the flavor from the earth, so you can grow one olive in several different places and get several different flavors,” Oil and Vinegar’s Debbie Gokhan said.

Shoppers select a glass container and fill up on these estate-grown oils from places like the Mediterranean, Australia and South Africa.

There is plenty of opportunity to pre-taste your purchase and learn through the process that an olive oil’s flavors are as intricate as any wine.

“It can be herby, grassy. It can be a buttery flavor and almond flavor or even an apple or a fruit flavor,” Gokhan said.

Though sold in small quantities, these oils can be as pricy as $60 a liter, but a little goes a long way.

International demand for Italian olive oil has reached a point where this year Italy will export so much of its own product that it will have to import oils from other countries to supply its own domestic markets.

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