Tag Archives: Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive

Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops
Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Today, I am sharing a new recipe for pork chops.  In addition to PEI pork, I am also featuring two other PEI products, both from J.J. Stewart Foods and Soda Company, in Stratford.  The first is a new preserve flavor — Cranberry Champagne with Crystallized Ginger — and the second is from their maple mustard line.

This is a very easy recipe to make and does not take a lot of time to prepare. It is essentially pan-fried pork chops with a pan reduction sauce made with chicken stock, orange juice, mustard, and the preserves.  This recipe is easily doubled.

Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops

Ingredients:
2 pork chops, fat removed
2 tsp olive oil

½ cup chicken broth
2 tbsp orange juice
1½ tsp balsamic vinegar (I used Liquid Gold’s Grapefruit Balsamic Vinegar)
3 tbsp J. J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne with Crystallized Ginger Preserve
1 tbsp J.J.  Stewart’s Dill and Chardonnay Maple Mustard
¼ tsp onion
⅛ tsp garlic powder

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Over medium heat, add 2 tsp olive oil to small frypan. Add pork chops and cook, turning once until cooked to desired doneness. Remove chops from pan and transfer to oven-proof covered dish. Place pork chops in oven set at very low temperature, just enough to keep them warm while preparing sauce.

Add the chicken broth, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar to frypan. Over medium heat, cook liquid (uncovered) until it reduces to about half.

Whisk in the mustard along with the garlic and onion powders until mixture is smooth.

Whisk in the preserves. Cook until mixture becomes the consistency of syrup.

Return the pork chops to the frypan and heat for about 1 minute, turning the chops at half-time to glaze both sides.

Serve hot with the cranberry-ginger sauce mixture drizzled over top of each pork chop. Serve with potato or rice and your favorite vegetable(s).

Serves: 2

Note:  Other brands of preserves, mustard, and balsamic vinegar may be used in this recipe; however, flavor will differ.

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Chocolate Potato Cake

We are familiar with cakes made with vegetables like carrot and zucchini.  However, have you ever heard of potato cake?

We Islanders like our spuds, there is no doubt about it.  Potatoes are a very versatile vegetable and can be prepared and served in many different ways but have you ever heard of having them for dessert?  Well, combine potatoes with chocolate and some light spice seasoning and you have a really tasty cake.

What follows is my creation of a recipe for chocolate potato cake.  This is a fairly dense-textured cake so don’t look for it to have the same “foggy” and fluffy texture of a typical chocolate cake mix out of a box!  Despite the two cups of sugar in the recipe, it is not overly or sickeningly sweet.  The potatoes are cooked and mashed really well before adding them to the cake batter.  It is important that they be lump-free as, otherwise, you will have lumps in the cake batter.  The mashed potatoes should be warm when added to the batter.

You may find two or three of the ingredients different in this cake recipe.  For example, I have added a pinch of cayenne pepper because I find it enhances the depth of the chocolate flavor.  The key, of course, is not to overdo it – if you add too much, there will be excessive “heat” in the cake….just a pinch is all it takes.  The addition of the espresso powder is also another good way to draw out the flavor of the cocoa and lend a mocha flavor to the cake.  I have quite a collection of balsamic vinegars from our local Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown.  One of them is the dark chocolate balsamic vinegar which is delicious when simmered on the stove, reduced down, and drizzled over ice cream.  If you have never tried a good quality balsamic vinegar reduction in this way, you are missing out on a delectable treat.  I added 1/2 tbsp of this balsamic vinegar to the chocolate cake batter.  This is a chocolate all-the-way cake!

I recommend baking this cake in a 10″ tube or bundt cake pan.  These pans have a hollow tube in the center of the pan and this allows dense-batter cakes to rise and bake more evenly.  There is also less chance of the cake falling in the middle or the outsides of the cake baking too quickly and drying out before the centre of the cake is baked.

The key to making this cake is not to overbake it.  Start checking it at about the 40-45-minute baking point.  If a cake tester does not come out clean at that point, continue to bake it but check it every 4-5 minutes.  If it overbakes, it will be dry.

Chocolate Potato Cake

2½ cups flour

¼ tsp salt

2¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp allspice

pinch cayenne

⅔ cup cocoa

¾ cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup warm mashed potatoes

½ cup milk

1½ tsp espresso powder dissolved in ⅓ cup hot water

2 tbsp Swiss Chocolate Almond Liqueur (or your favorite coffee liqueur)

½ tbsp dark chocolate balsamic vinegar (optional, but good)

1½ tsp vanilla

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Ingredients for Chocolate Potato Cake
Ingredients for Chocolate Potato Cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line bottom of 10” tube pan with parchment paper.  Grease or spray cooking oil on sides of pan.

Tube Pan Prepared for Chocolate Potato Cake
Tube Pan Prepared for Chocolate Potato Cake

Sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, and cocoa.  Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine the brown and white sugars.

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In bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy (2-3 mins on medium-high speed). 

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well to incorporate after each addition.  

Add the mashed potatoes and beat on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until batter is smooth.

Add the coffee, liqueur, balsamic vinegar, and vanilla to the milk to make 1 cup of liquid.  (Note – if you choose not to add the liqueur and/or balsamic vinegar, replace them with milk so that the liquid measurement equals 1 cup.)

Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the liquid ingredients, starting and ending with the flour mixture (process is three additions of dry ingredients to two of liquid), mixing well after each addition. 

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula as necessary to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. 

Scrape Sides of Bowl Frequently
Scrape Sides of Bowl Frequently

Pour batter into prepared tube pan. 

Bake for apx. 40-55 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean and the cake springs back to a light touch.  Do not overbake or cake will be dry.

Baked Chocolate Potato Cake
Baked Chocolate Potato Cake

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Ice with your favorite frosting.

Enjoy!

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Grilled Peach Salad with Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette

We have eaten a lot of salads from our garden produce this summer and I must admit I am starting to get a bit tired of the traditional green salad with tomatoes, cucumber, etc.  The peaches have been divine this late summer so, for a change, I decided to grill them and make a fruit salad on fresh garden greens.

This is a tasty salad with the grilled peaches, fresh blueberries, red onion rings, and feta cheese on a bed of mixed greens.  I topped it off with a peach balsamic vinaigrette made with peach balsamic vinegar and mandarin-infused olive oil from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown.

To grill the peaches, I cut each in half, removed the stone, and brushed both sides of the peaches with the mandarin- infused olive oil.  Make sure the grill is greased as well.

On a pre-heated grill (medium-high), the peaches only take 2-3 minutes, each side (use tongs to turn the fruit). Don’t overcook the fruit as it will become too soft and mushy.   Grilling fresh fruit brings out the deep flavor of the fruit and intensifies the sweet taste.  Plus, the grill marks on the peaches, enhance the presentation.

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For salad for two:

mixed greens

2 grilled peaches

blueberries

red onion rings

feta cheese

To make the dressing: 

1/4 cup mandarin-infused olive oil

2 tbsp peach balsamic vinegar

4 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp minced garlic

1 green onion, finely sliced

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp sugar

pepper, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Shake well.  Drizzle over salad when ready to serve.

To assemble salad:

Make a bed of mixed greens on each plate.  Place sliced grilled peaches on greens.  Add red onion rings.  Sprinkle with blueberries and feta cheese.  Drizzle with Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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Grilled Chicken, Strawberry, and Feta Cheese Salad

With warm summer evenings, it’s nice to have a go-to recipe for an easy-to-prepare, light yet filling, entrée.  One of my favorite summertime evening meals is warm grilled chicken served over a strawberry, feta cheese, and green salad and drizzled with a good balsamic vinaigrette.

The option is yours to choose to marinade the boneless, skinless chicken breasts or not.  I usually do and I don’t follow a precise recipe for the marinade but these are the usual ingredients:  brown sugar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, minced onion, soya sauce, salt, and pepper.  As for quantities of each ingredient, I don’t actually measure them out and add more or less, depending on how many chicken breasts I am marinating.  I make several horizontal cuts in the chicken breasts to allow the marinade to permeate through the meat.  Place the chicken breasts in a ziplok bag, mix together the marinade and pour it into the bag, making sure the entire chicken breasts are covered.  Zip up the bag and place it in the fridge for several hours (I usually aim for between 2 and 4 hours).  Heat up the grill and cook the chicken breasts until they are done.

One of the pleasures of summer is having our own garden.  We eat a lot of salads and there is nothing better than running to the garden right before meal time and gathering a medley of fresh lettuce as well as some herbs from our little herb garden.

Slice the warm grilled chicken breast horizontally into slices about ¼” thick.

Cover the plate with a medley of greens.  Transfer the cut-up chicken breast to centre of the plate on top of the lettuce bed.  Slice up and add some fresh strawberries and red onion rings. Sprinkle with feta cheese and a few nuts such as cashews or sunflower seeds (or both!).  Add a balsamic vinaigrette and voila, a tasty and light dinner.  Serve with baguette slices and a refreshing glass of your favorite white wine.  Here I have selected “flipflop”, a California Pinot Grigio which made a fine accompaniment to a summer salad.

My recipe for the vinaigrette follows.  Of course, you know the secret to a really good vinaigrette – the best quality of olive oil and balsamic vinegar you can find.  Because we have a “Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive” store in Charlottetown, I buy their olive oil and vinegar products because they are superior and fresh quality.

Peach and Mandarin Balsamic Vinaigrette

¼ cup Mandarin-infused olive oil

2 tbsp peach white balsamic vinegar

4 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp minced garlic

1 small green onion or 1 – 2 tsp finely chopped red onion

2 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ – 2 tsp sugar, to taste

Freshly ground pepper

Kosher salt, to taste

Mix and shake all ingredients together until well mixed. Drizzle over salad at time of serving.

 

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Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms!

What mom doesn’t like to be pampered on Mother’s Day and what says pampering more than breakfast in bed!  Dress up an ordinary bed tray with a lovely napkin or pretty placemat and prepare a scrumptious breakfast for Mom.

The Menu:  Start with a fresh fruit cup presented in the prettiest, daintiest pedestal dessert dish.  Choose a variety of fruits of different colors, shapes, and textures.

Fresh squeezed orange juice adds an element of sophistication to the breakfast tray.

For the main course, I chose to serve scrambled eggs on crostini with a roasted Parmesan tomato half.  The roasted tomato is so simple to make.  Simply cut a tomato in half.   A sprinkle of Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and a shake of Parmesan cheese is all it takes to season the tomatoes. Drizzle each half tomato with a good quality olive oil – I used Liquid Gold’s Organic Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil.  Roast the tomato on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 450F oven for about 10 minutes, just until tomato is heated and the Parmesan starts to turn golden in color.

How yummy does this tomato look!

A few herbs and a topping of grated cheddar cheese take scrambled eggs to a whole new level, particularly when served on a tasty crostini.

Look for lots of color to add to the breakfast tray.  Color makes the tray look so much more vibrant, interesting, and appealing.

Select the prettiest cup and saucer to dress up the tray.

I like these petite individual-sized teapots.  They are very versatile and don’t take up much room on a bed tray.

Fresh flowers are a must for any special breakfast in bed tray.  Miniature carnations are very suitable for bed trays.  Everything should be to scale in order for it to fit on the tray.

Lastly, you’ll want to add the finishing touch of a lovely and carefully chosen Mother’s Day Card.

A beautiful card for a beautiful Mom!

It’s all about Mom on Mother’s Day.  It’s not always the big, fancy gifts that touch the heart.  Most often, it is something like the care and attention that goes into planning something special, like breakfast in bed and, most importantly spending time together, that means the most.

Ham, Cheese, & Tomato Panini

Ham, Cheese, & Tomato Panini
Ham, Cheese, & Tomato Panini

There are so many ways to serve a sandwich other than just throwing two pieces of bread and some filling together.  One of my favorite ways to serve sandwiches is to make them into panini.  I bought a Bella panini grill a couple of years ago and I have certainly gotten use out of it.

Panini is nothing more than bread or rolls, some kind of spread, and a filling which usually involves some variety of deli meat and cheese.  Often, a vegetable such as tomato is added as well.  The sandwich is then heated in a sandwich press or panini grill where it is pressed flat and toasted.

If you are lucky enough to be near a bakery or a supermarket that makes a variety of breads and rolls, you are likely to find ones suitable for use in panini grills. Rolls identified simply as panini rolls or Ciabiata, Focaccia, or baguettes are all suitable for use in these types of sandwiches. Here in Charlottetown, the Atlantic Superstore has a good variety of rolls that they sell individually.  You can, of course, use any plain bread you wish but the sandwich will be more interesting if made with some type of artisan bread or rolls.

Today, I am going to share with you how I make a Ham, Cheese, & Tomato Panini.

First, I have chosen puffy oval-shaped rolls that were simply labelled “Panini  Rolls” at the Superstore and I split them in half, horizontally.

Panini Rolls
Panini Rolls

I sliced tomato rather thinly and sprinkled it with about 1/2 tsp. Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Vinegar from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown.  If you have been following my blog, you will recall the feature story I did last summer on this store and their fabulous balsamic vinegars and olive oils.  I then sprinkled the tomatoes with some fresh ground pepper and sea salt and set them aside while I prepared the rest of the sandwich.

Marinating Tomatoes in Cranberry-Pear Balsamic Vinegar
Marinating Tomatoes in Cranberry-Pear Balsamic Vinegar

To make the mayonnaise spread, I combined 1 tbsp maple syrup with 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, and a pinch each of basil and chives.  I then added 1 green onion, thinly sliced.

Mixing Mayonnaise Spread
Mixing Mayonnaise Spread

Using a good quality extra virgin olive oil (I used Liquid Gold’s Arbosana), I brushed olive oil over all the outside edges of the rolls.  This is one of the occasions where you want to use the very best quality olive oil you can find because the taste really does come through.

Brushing the rolls with olive oil
Brushing the rolls with olive oil

I flipped the rolls over and spread the mayonnaise on each of the interior sides of the rolls.  On one side of the roll, I started building the sandwich, starting first with a good quality Black Forest deli ham that was sliced very thin.

I then added the marinated tomatoes

Adding the marinated tomatoes
Adding the marinated tomatoes

and another slice of ham

and, finally, added the grated cheese.

Adding grated cheese
Adding grated cheese

You can use any of your favorite cheeses in this sandwich – I happened to have some Italiano mixture (mozzarella, asiago, smoked provolone, and parmesan) in the fridge so that’s what I used.

I then put the top part of the roll on the sandwich and transferred it to the heated panini grill.

I pressed and held down the top of the panini grill for about 20 seconds or so.

Panini Grill
Panini Grill

I grilled the sandwich on the medium setting for probably about 4-5 minutes, essentially just long enough for the sandwich to be heated, the cheese melted, and the roll to have a nice crisp crust.  Since each brand of grill will differ slightly, you will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for grilling panini and do some testing with your particular grill.

I sliced the panini diagonally and served it with carrot and celery sticks.

Ham, Cheese, & Tomato Panini

1 medium-sized tomato

1/2 tsp. Liquid Gold Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Vinegar

Fresh ground pepper and sea salt

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp Dijon mustard

pinch dried basil

pinch dried chives

1 small green onion, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)

2 oz. deli-style Black Forest ham, thinly sliced

1 oz. grated Italian blend cheese

2 panini rolls of choice

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Slice tomato thinly.  Drizzle with 1/2 tsp. Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Vinegar, freshly ground pepper, and sea salt.  Set aside to marinate as you prepare remainder of ingredients.

In small bowl, combine the maple syrup, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, herbs, and green onion.  Mix well.

Split panini roll in half, horizontally.  Brush virgin olive oil on all outside edges of roll. Flip rolls over and spread mayonnaise mixture on both interior sides of roll.  Lay slice of ham on one side of roll.  Add the marinated tomatoes.  Add second layer of ham.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.  Place top of roll over layers of sandwich.  Transfer to heated panini maker and grill according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 2 panini.

 

A Visit to Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive

Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive

In a red brick building on the corner of Queen and Dorchester Streets in Olde Charlottetown, PEI, you will find a very unique shop called “Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive”.  Opened now on the Island for a year (they opened one year ago today on July 4, 2011), this is one of three Liquid Gold shops in the Maritimes (the other two are in Halifax, NS, and in Saint John, NB).

Liquid Gold, Charlottetown, PEI

I recently sat down with the Charlottetown store manager, Amy Ingram, to find out just what Liquid Gold Olive Oils is all about.  That is when I found out it’s a foodie’s paradise that sells fresh, pure extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars.  Patrons can taste any of the oils and vinegars onsite that they want.  This tasting bar experience allows shoppers to explore flavours before making a purchase choice.

I asked Amy what prompted the idea for a store that sells exclusive olive oils and vinegars.  Amy tells me her Mom, Myrna, lived in Arizona for awhile where they had an olive oil tasting bar.  When she returned to Nova Scotia, she found a supplier that imported quality extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world and she opened her first store.

So, what will you find when you walk into a Liquid Gold store?  You will find rows of pristine stainless steel fustis filled with a large, extensive variety of extra virgin olive oils and both dark and light balsamic vinegars.  Fustis are small kegs with spigots that provide tight, dark conditions in which to store the oils and vinegars.

A Tasting Bar

Beneath the rows of fusti, you’ll find dark-tinted bottles in two sizes and these get filled to your request by any of the staff of four.  Dark bottles are essential because the darkness helps to protect the oil from oxidation that will occur if the oil is exposed to light.  The store also carries gourmet oils like truffle and sesame along with mustards, salsas, and pastas, and olive-oil based body products.

Rows of Empty Bottles Waiting to be Filled

 

I asked Amy who their typical customers are.  She tells me they range from everyday at-home cooks to chefs-in-training from the Culinary Institute of Canada a few blocks away to professional chefs – all looking for high quality products with health benefits.  On the day I visited, the store was a beehive of activity.  Two chefs-in-training were getting a supply of oils (yes, by a box full of bottles!), a passenger from the ms Maasdam in port for the day was picking up bottles filled with product and having them gift-wrapped as take-home souvenirs of her visit to Charlottetown, a local at-home budding cook was making a return visit and deliberating on his next choices of oils and vinegars, and a number of other visitors were obviously fascinated by the tasting bar experience.

Bottles are Filled at Time of Purchase

 

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil is made from crushing and pressing olives.  The oils in Liquid Gold stores are imported from small estate farms and olive groves in many different countries that include Italy, France, Greece, and Argentina, to mention just a few.  I remember having dinner in Tivoli, Italy, some years ago, high on a hill overlooking groves of gnarled olive trees for as far as the eye could see.  I suspect these would be the kind of olive grove estate farms that would, no doubt, produce and export quality olive oils, such as those found at Liquid Gold.

Health Benefits of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Amy says the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are many – they are rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins K and E, and aid in digestion.  Some research also suggests olive oil may reduce cancer risk, have properties to reduce risk of heart disease, and improve cognitive function.  Of all olive oils, extra-virgin olive oil is said to have the most health benefits along with the most delicate and true flavour.

What to Look for When Tasting and Purchasing Olive Oil

Amy advises, when choosing a quality olive oil, to consider what use you are purchasing the oil for and look for a nice, rich flavour that “makes all your taste buds happy”.  Look for subtle flavours of grass, fruit, or pepper that give a degree of spiciness to the taste buds.  By contrast, old or poor quality oils will have a flat, musty, waxy crayon taste and a rancid smell.

According to my own research, I learned there are, generally speaking, three categories of olive oil – delicate, medium, and robust.  Delicate oils are considered suitable for foods like seafood.  Medium oils go well with salads and poultry.  Robust oils blend well with red meats and dishes with a tomato base.

Storing Olive Oil

Store oils in cool, dark spaces, away from any direct or indirect heat sources as this can cause rancidity.

 

Balsamic Vinegars

Balsamic vinegars are made from crushed grapes that are boiled down to reduce most of the water in the grapes, producing a concentrate or “must”.  This is then fermented in barrels made of various woods where the vinegar undergoes a slow aging process that can take many years.  The wooden barrels contribute to the flavour of the balsamic vinegar.  Some vinegars are aged 3-5 years, others 6-12 years, and still others much longer.  Younger-aged vinegars are lighter in taste and are typically used on salads.  Middle-aged vinegars are good in sauces and pasta dishes.  Older-aged vinegars compliment meat and poultry dishes well and are especially good drizzled on fresh fruit and ice creams – who knew a good balsamic vinegar would taste great on fruit and ice cream…..but it does!

Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegars

The health benefits of balsamic vinegars are significant.  From my research, I found they are reported to be a source of iron, calcium, manganese, and potassium, are low in salt and saturated fat and are cholesterol-free.  The vinegar’s antioxidant properties are said to help prevent heart disease and cancer.  Balsamic vinegar may also aid in digestion and be good for the circulatory system.  Additionally, its properties may aid in healing cuts and open wounds.

What to Look for when Tasting and Purchasing Balsamic Vinegars

Good quality balsamic vinegars, according to Amy, should exhibit a sweet and tart blend along with a thick and rich taste.  The vinegars should have sweetness to them and a wood flavour (from the barrels in which they were aged) should be evident.  If you only get a bitter taste, then it is poor quality balsamic vinegar. A good quality balsamic vinegar should have a somewhat syrupy texture to it.

Storing Balsamic Vinegars

Store bottles of balsamic vinegar in a cool dark place.  There is no need to refrigerate them.

 

I questioned Amy on why customers should buy their olive oils and vinegars at Liquid Gold as opposed to at the local supermarket.  She cited four reasons:  First, Liquid Gold’s  oils are fresh, real extra-virgin olive oils that carry all the health benefits.  Second, because the oils and vinegars are produced on smaller estate farms and groves around the world as opposed to mass manufactured by large corporations, buyers are helping to support small local farmers around the world.  Third, the customers can come into the store and consult with knowledgeable staff who will educate them on oils and vinegars and their health benefits and help them select a product specifically for a purpose – for example, I was looking for a balsamic vinegar I could drizzle over ice cream and Liquid Gold sales staff were able to guide me to an appropriate selection and explain to me how I could heat and reduce the vinegar to make an even more tasty ice cream drizzle.  Fourth, a particular emphasis is placed on providing assistance to customers to find oils and vinegars that compliment the many flavours of local PEI foods.

Product Prices

We’ve all seen supermarket sales on huge bottles of olive oils but are we really getting “a deal” and is the quality there?  Amy tells me I really can’t compare Liquid Gold’s prices with supermarket prices because it is quality of product that is the true comparison factor, not price point.  Bearing in mind it takes 5 pounds of olives to produce 375ml of olive oil, don’t look for quality oils to be cheap. The labour-intensive and lengthy aging periods for good quality balsamic vinegars also means their prices will not be cheap either.  Liquid Gold (at time of writing in July 2012) sell their oils and vinegars for $18.00 for a 375ml bottle and $11.00 for a 200ml bottle.  As a foodie and at-home chef, I can honestly say there is a definite difference between good quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars and that difference is evident in the final food product you create with the oils and vinegars.

I decided I would put their olive oil and balsamic vinegar to the test to see if I could detect a genuine difference between their products and what I would normally purchase at a supermarket.  For me, a true test of an oil and balsamic vinegar is best determined by using it uncooked so I made a simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing for a green garden salad.  I don’t like heavy salad dressings because I find they smother the salad ingredients and mask their flavour.  So, I purchased a bottle of Liquid Gold’s cranberry-pear white balsamic vinegar and a bottle of Arbosana extra-virgin olive oil.  I added a bit of garlic, Dijon mustard, shallots, a few herbs from the garden and a dash of salt and sprinkle of pepper.  I have never had such an extraordinary salad – the vinaigrette was so flavourful and pure and did not detract from the salad’s ingredients – in fact, I’d go so far as to say it brought out the flavours of the lettuce, tomato, and cucumber more true, pure, and intense.

Cranberry-Pear Balsamic Vinaigrette

This store is a real treasure trove for foodies.  It offers a fantastic selection of quality fresh extra-virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, knowledgeable staff, and a good location in Charlottetown.  But, no worries if you don’t live near a Liquid Gold Store – they offer online shopping through their website and ship in Canada and the United States.

Whether you are an Islander or a visitor to our fair city of Charlottetown, be sure to  include a stop at Liquid Gold if for no other reason than to marvel at the varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars available on the market and to learn more about the products and their health benefits.  Taste them, though, and if you are a foodie like me who likes high quality food products, I am guessing you may very well find it hard to come away without purchasing some of the products.

Now that I have discovered Liquid Gold, I might have to build extra cupboards to store the varieties I’ll no doubt be investing in!  Indeed, I have already made a repeat visit to purchase a chocolate balsamic vinegar which I reduced and drizzled over my homemade strawberry ice cream and fresh berries – divine perfection!

Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All Things Olive is located at 72 Queen Street in Charlottetown, PEI, and may be reached at (902)370-8809.

Happy 1st Anniversary, Liquid Gold, of operating your store in Charlottetown, PEI!

 

Liquid Gold, Charlottetown, PEI