Who doesn’t appreciate good food? You don’t need a cooking degree, a job at a fancy restaurant, or a refined palate to know that strong, vibrant flavours will certainly please everyone. In fact, there are likely few things in the world that please so universally as good food. Sure, we might all disagree on which flavours ‘reign supreme’, but we can all agree that nothing warms the heart like your favourite dish or a thrilling new discovery (Personally, I have been chasing the high of this one sandwich shop in England for years now, but that’s a story for another time). Unfortunately, for many of us there is a belief that to achieve that flavour we need to go to a fancy restaurant or cook with products so foreign to us that we wouldn’t even know where to begin. Fortunately, The Olive Experience in Guelph and I are here to tell you that, this is most definitely not the case.
If you have gone to downtown Guelph, perhaps to get a burger at The Works, or maybe getting a drink at the Gin Mill (who happen to carry The Olive Experience’s olives for their martinis), you may have noticed The Olive Experience’s sleek sign and maybe even thought to yourself, “Wait? Just how many types of olives and oils can you really sell?”
Okay, so maybe that was just me, but either way, it turns out the answer is so much more than you think, and now that the BBQ season is quickly coming upon us, this is the perfect time for you to get out of your food funk and start trying them!
For you Olive Experience beginners like myself, let me start out by saying that your options for flavours and recipes are frankly fairly close to endless. Between their balsamics, and their oils there is such a wide range of flavours that you really could have, say, chicken three or four days in a row and the different blends that you can create will make it feel as if you really did just have three or four different meals. While you can marinate just about anything you’d put on the grill – or in the oven in the cooler seasons – in any combination of products, something the owner Rick Zuccato took the time to highlight was grilled vegetables.
These days, there are so many different ways that you can grill your veggies on the barbie – from simple foil to specially designed products – and vegetables in particular, as well as tofu, really pick up and absorb the flavours of your marinade, giving you a bold new twist. If you’re worried about losing some of that great nutritional values, which can happen even if olive oil is safe to heat, so long as you keep it no higher than 350 degrees, all you have to do is toss it in a little bit more fresh oil once you’re done cooking! Simple right? And so delicious.
While it never hurts to remind you that balsamic and oils can be a great addition to your meals, salads and sides, what I really want to tell you about are the desserts and drink options that are available to you. As that’s where the real “secret tips” for great taste are at.
The Olive Experience’s products come in a variety of fruit flavours that are excellent poured over ice cream, for a quick, easy and amazing tasting dessert, and Rick’s wife Claire has been known to add their chocolate or espresso balsamic to brownie batter, making it extra rich.
It is also that balsamic which people have been adding to water, tea or even alcohol to make excellent, refreshing and healthy drinks! In fact, when Rick happened to mention to a customer that he had been doing this for some time and losing weight, she said that she was a nutritionist, and that, that made perfect sense! She explained that most late-night cravings actually come down to dehydration; so, by indulging in these “mocktails”, infused with great sweet fresh flavours like peach, raspberry, mango or blueberry, you are giving yourself the satisfying fruity taste as well as giving your body exactly what it needs – water! – without adding all those extra calories from a snack.
So, now that the warm weather is finally returning, it’s time to first head to The Olive Experience’s website to get inspiration from their 100+ recipes, and then head over to the store to stock up, grill up, drink and enjoy!
WRITTEN BY: JILLIAN KENT | RESOURCES: THE OLIVE EXPERIENCE INC., GUELPH