Saturday, January 24, 2009

I'm Drinking the Kool-Aid: Olive Oil Flavor

At the corner of 15th and Market, in an old brick building with Gothic windows, you'll find gourmet heaven. This erstwhile temple of fine art, is now a temple of refined taste, since Fuller Fine Art moved out and the EVOO Marketplace moved in. Mick Major, owner of EVOO Marketplace has introduced Denver to a concept that's long overdue. Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar are being given true respect and not just lip-service here.

Plenty of places sell oil and vinegar in Denver, so what's all the fuss about? Walk into this beautiful shop and you'll find out. No clutter, no potpourri and cutsie gifts to distract you from the main attraction. Lined up, front and center are a two rows of gleaming stainless steel containers (fusti I believe they're called) with a spigot. Each one is filled to the brim with liquid ambrosia. Probably a dozen varieties of olive oils from around the world: Italy, Greece, Spain, California. Different varieties, pure or infused: Frantoio, Arbequina, Manzanillo, basil, garlic, white truffle... And the Balsamics don't lag behind: pear, apple, black cherry...
The real king, however, is the 18 year-old balsamic. Wow! Give me a bottle of this and I'll be pulling on it all day; one sip at a time.

As soon as you walk in the door, Mick or one of the staff will help you get your bearings. The purists are pointed to the little cups that are stacked next to each spigot, waiting for you to pour yourself a little oil or balsamic. This is a nice way to go so that you can inhale the deep and rich aroma of each of these special ambers. Then throw it back and savor it's richness as it coats the tongue. On their own or mixed in creative combinations, you'll be enthralled as you sample the great variety of tastes and aromas. For those a bit reluctant to sip on olive oil, bah!, you'll find cubes of fresh baked bread from the Denver Bread Company (EVOO Marketplace also sells select loaves from the DBC).

The simplicity of the concept, the clean feel of the shop, the variety of choices, and most importantly the freshness and quality of the product, set EVOO Marketplace apart. Nowhere else will you have access to this many choices and the ability to taste and be educated by those that really care about your experience. Wine is not the only precious liquid that should be investigated in a meaningful way. Here you can do just that with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Once you identify the oil or vinegar you can't do without, Mick will bottle it up for you, cork it, seal it, and you're set. Oh yeah, you do have to pay first. Prices range from about 12 to 18 per bottle, depending on how rich your palate is. But you can be sure that after sampling the goods at the EVOO Marketplace, your palate will never settle for less!

EVOO Marketplace
1338 15th St.
Denver, CO 80203



Anonymous said...

I was down in Lodo the other day and my eyes could not believe I had finally found a place which sells "real" olive oil and balsamics just like a shop I was used to back in Chicago. Such a huge difference over the store bought stuff and at a reasonable price. The owner, Mick was also very friendly and helpful.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh! If only I could afford one of every oil and balsamic. What a treat to be able to taste before you buy. The store is a pleasure to be in and the owner Mick a delight to talk to.

David and Elena Milnes said...

I was in Denver for the first time in the middle of April 09. My wife and I stumbled into this amazing little store and we were instantly greeted with the friendly owner Mr. Mick Major. He gave us a quick history of the store and his products. He guided us through the sampling process and honestly, I couldn't get enough. Even his sample bread was delicious!!! Our friend came to visit later in the week and we brought him to the store and he is now a fan as well. Amazing oils and vinegars with a family atmosphere. I highly recommend their products and will continue to spread the word. (PS: we got the Basil and White Truffle oils and love 'em!!!)

Kate said...

Just visited the shop in LoDo over Christmas...What a surprise! I have longed to find a source for authentic, non-mass produced oils and vinegars. The 18 yr old balsamic is outstanding alone or paired with Tuscan herb infused oil. I highly recommend stopping by and try a taste! It was a great experience.

Jody Hunsberger said...

Most fabulous EVOO and Vinegars...I am convinced this is the most unique shop ever encountered...should have bought more bottles while in Denver, so ordered some more!!

Anonymous said...

Nice article, thanks. I signed to your rss feed!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely love this store!!!