The first bite of a cheesy margherita pizza fresh out of the oven. The crisp taste of a cool Greek salad with homemade dressing. The spicy fried goodness of anything cooked in a wok. I savor these food moments in life.
There are certain ingredients that will always make a difference in the taste and quality of a dish, but taking the time to learn about the science of it all can be daunting on its own.
Take a look around your kitchen pantry and check your stock of olive oil.
Do you know where it was grown and harvested?
Can you tell its crush date?
Have you ever tasted its polyphenals or been able to savor its fruity undertones?
I bet you didn’t even know these things mattered when tasting and buying olive oil.
There is a fine art to understanding the vibrant complexities found in a quality olive oil, and Austin area olive aficionados Jeff and Tabatha Conarko are stepping in to help.
Taking the confusion and turning it into a delicious learning experience, the husband and wife duo have just opened their third Con’ Olio store. Visit the Austin stores or their newest Lake Travis area location in Bee Cave at the Shops at the Galleria.
Be prepared to question all you thought you knew about a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil or a Balsamic Vinegar.
Officially opening after the holidays in order to supply Lake Travis residents with the finest in oils, vinegars and other specialty oils and food pairings, their mission is simple; offer up the best selection to customers and educate them in the process.
“Fresher is better; Taste the difference,” is Tabatha’s motto when it comes to buying and every oil is ready to be sampled in store.
Simply pick an oil or vinegar that piques your interest and taste away. If you have questions, shop associates or Jeff and Tabatha will be able to point you in the right direction. What a delectable way to learn, if I do say so!
All of their oils are held to a high standard to ensure the freshest quality, and they professionally lab test them to ensure this. With no preservatives or artificial ingredients ever added to their selection, you are tasting what you pay for — exceptionally fine and flavorful oils and vinegar.
Taking a stroll through the store, I came across fused and infused oils and vinegars that I never knew existed: Chipotle Olive Oil, Blood Orange Olive Oil, Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar, Lavender Dark Balsamic Vinegar.
I savored the warm, green, peppery flavors of their robust “Oro Bailen” Extra Virgin Olive Oil and shed a tear for all of the sadly oiled pizzas I have eaten in the past. Knowing what I know now about oils, I’ll have a hard time using my old standby jug of oil that I keep on the floor of my pantry.
All of their oils are stamped with a harvest date and clearly list out the certifications and country of origin for a truly enlightening shopping experience.
When you’re interested in going beyond sampling and want to learn more about olive oil and vinegar history, their production process and culinary uses, Olive Oil 101 and Balsamic Vinegar 101 classes are a great place to start. Learn how to taste for an oil’s antioxidant content and break through many of the long-standing myths about olive oil.
A nice medium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as the Koroneiki EVOO will run you about $20 for a 350 ml bottle, with different bottle sizes to choose from for every taste and price point.
Con’ Olio also has a nice assemblage of food offerings and gift basket options for gift givers and foodies alike, such as pasta, truffles, jams, and crackers.
12918 Shops Pkwy, Shops at the Galleria, Bee Cave (map)