I think I might actually be starting to grow up, well my taste buds seem to be, anyone who’s seen me riding will dispel the myth that I’m actually a grown up in the mental sense. Recently I’ve noticed a change in the foods that I’m prepared to eat and wines I’m prepared to drink. Having HATED a number of things as a child I’m actually enjoying them now and it’s very strange. First off we have red wine, now I’m not fully converted but I have to admit that having tried some Merlot recently it’s actually not bad stuff. I can see it being something I’ll try more of although having tried some other reds at Vinopolis a while back there’s still plenty out there that fits with my memory of vinegary, evil tasting rubbish.
This brings me on to my latest discovery, olive oils & balsamic vinegars. Now first let me state that vinegar is evil! I hate the smell & the taste and if someone on the tube is eating a packet of salt & vinegar crisps near me then I’ll actually have to get up and move. So it’s strange that I was drawn to a new shop in Chelmsford called Oil & Vinegar, we were passing on Sunday a couple of months ago when there was a food fayre going on in the town centre and on an impulse thought we’d go in for a look. Not really knowing why there’d be an entire shop devoted to oil & vinegar I was quite intrigued about what we’d find but I have to admit from that point on the boyf and I were hooked! What you find on entering is a selection of “taster” bowls laid out along with mini bread sticks and cubes of French bread for you to try all manner of weird and wonderful foodstuffs. I started off with the relatively safe options (as far as I was concerned) of bruschetta mix and pesto….well all I can say is from that moment I was convinced that Oil & Vinegar was a worthwhile shop! Having then tried their range of dipping herbs in plain olive oil I moved to the rear of the shop to find a huge range of various olive oils and balsamic vinegars where I was convinced by the helpful assistant to give them a try. Initially sticking to oils like lemon olive oil and basil olive oil I finally worked up the courage to try their Special Balsamic vinegar and it was actually rather nice. So much so that I actually succumbed to buying some. What’s even better is you choose an empty glass bottle and get it filled to your requirements, you then wash & re-use the bottles on your next visit (of which I’ve made quite a few!)
Well Oil & Vinegar is now a regular part of our shopping routine, I am now a full convert to the use of oils and vinegars in salad dressings and their herbs make a tasty addition to foods like cous cous, spaghetti bolognese and pretty much anything you can think of really. The boyf has been adding bruschetta mix to my breakfast scrambled eggs and it makes a delicious start to the morning.
For anyone interested a list of their UK shops can be found here, and I can highly recommend the following products:
Raspberry Balsamic (goes especially well with Lemon flavoured olive oil)
Lemon flavoured olive oil
Porcini flavoured olive oil
Dipping Herbs – especially the Parmesan and the Tuscany versions
& finally the Tasmanian Pepperberry salad dressing
So get yourself to your nearest store and start tasting! Even if you’ve not enjoyed it in the past maybe your tastebuds will have grown up like mine.