It’s a pretty shop, and that polished wood bar is long and lined with all varieties–or, as you say in WineSpeak, varietals?–of olive oils. These olive oils have been made in California and are part of a proud tradition that goes back to Spanish settlers, say the We Olive folks. These oils come flavored with different flavors and aromas–rosemary, lemon, and tangerine. The friendly employee behind the bar said that the Pasolivo tangerine blend—at $16 for 200 ml–is great to use in brownies.
The shop also sells olives that are stuffed with blue cheese and almonds, or graced with hints of orange and fennel or bay leaf and garlic. And, the shop sells tapenades, pesto, balsamic vinegars, cookbooks, and even olive-based skin-care and bath products.
Back to olive oils: We Olive says it has brought together the more than 200 producers across California.
As I write this, I’m getting hungry, and craving one of those blue-cheese stuffed olives, or a hunk of baguette that I can dip in olive oil from that $34.50 bottle.
At the same time, I’m wondering how well this store will do. We Olive is a franchise, originating from Paso Robles, the heart of the Central Coast’s Wine Country. This Walnut Creek location, at 1364 North Main Street, is We Olive’s seventh store. The company, according to its website, has plans to expand its franchise to up to 400 stores nationwide.
I’d love to hear from people in the community who are more discerning about flavors and cooking than me, who are delighted that such a shop has come to our community.
Still, I wonder if, in this economy, whether people are going to want to spend money on specialty olive oils. Even in the way they would spend on the best coffee or the best wine.