Tasting olive oils and wine at We Olive in Los Gatos

by foodhoe on January 27, 2016

112 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos |408.354.7474 | website

weolive

Mr. K and I were down in Monterey again last weekend and stopped by this charming new wine bar/olive oil tasting room in Los Gatos on our way back.  They are planning to have a grand opening celebration this weekend, so you should make plans to visit because Manresa Bread is a couple of blocks away, which pretty much makes Los Gatos a destination for their buttery almond croissant and kouign-amann alone…  We Olive is a brilliant concept that combines wine tasting in a retail environment dedicated to showcasing premier California grown olive oils and hand crafted gourmet food products.  We were warmly welcomed by an enthusiastic and happy team as soon as we walked in the door.

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The store is packed with a stimulating array of delectables that is quite fun to sample your way through.  While the focus is on California extra virgin olive oil, they have a wide selection of balsamic vinegars, gourmet tapenade, olives, dressings, unique spreads, jams, chocolate and caramel sauces, infused honeys, flavored salts, and marinades along with small production wine all of which are available for you to taste.  Here is a variety of pestos and tapenade with clearly marked containers for self-serve sampling.

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This area had a lot of very intriguing specialty items like salsa, ketchups, jams and jellies.  We liked the intensely flavorful Bacon Jam, Mr. K picked up a Formosa habanero sauce along with some olive oils and an aged balsamic vinegar.

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They also sell cookbooks with recipes that use plenty of olive oil for your inspiration.

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One of the highlights of our visit was the complimentary olive oil and vinegar tasting.  All of the olive oils are certified by the California Olive Oil Council, most of them are award winning and are considered to be the best of the best.  You can start with the two pure EVOO, one is made with frantoio olives, which has a pronounced green, grassy and herbaceous aroma, lively and flavorful with a pungent finish.  The other is made with arbequina olives, which is fruitier, with subtle sweet nutty aromas.  There are balsamic vinegars that have been aged 12-15 years and then you progress to the EVOOs infused with meyer lemon, garlic, basil, jalapeño, or smoked, and then balsamic vinegars infused with the flavors of mulled spices, blood orange, blackberry, peach white balsamic, even pineapple white balsamic.  You can see the full assortment online here.

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We tasted our way through the various olive oils, which you can either sip straight from tiny plastic cups, which is the best way to discover its flavor or there are little cubes of baguette to dip in.  The website describes how to taste EVOO here, which involves the 4 S’s: swirl, sniff, slurp and swallow.  Of course one of their specialties is gourmet gift baskets, and you can purchase convenient sampler packs too.

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In the back of the store is a wine bar that showcases small production wines from all over California.  Here you can order flat bread and panini sandwiches from the kitchen, plus salads and small bites which feature products from the retail store, see the menu here.

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Wines are sold by the taste, glass and/or bottle as well as “to-go”.   There is also a selection of hand crafted beers on draft and in the bottle.

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As one of the perks of being a blogger, I was invited to sample some highlights of the menu as a guest of the house.

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The is the Artisan cheese and charcuterie plate $19, a lively assortment of tasty cured meats, cheese and accoutrements.  I enjoyed a lovely glass of 2014 Mathis Rosé ($12), and Mr. K had a glass of Hoppy Pilsner ($8), from Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles.

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There were three different cheeses: Alta Langa Rochetta from Italy made from cow, sheep and goat milk, French Pur Brebis with Espelette Peppers, a sheeps milk cheese matured for 3 months, a rich vintage aged cheddar from New Zealand that is aged 24 months so that it develops the crunchy crystals that are a sign of a well aged cheese; slices of mild Creminelli casalingo salami balanced with slices of the more boldly flavored picante (also known as pepperoni), some kalamata olives, marcona almonds, sage honey, balsamic infused mustard accompanied by thin crispy crackers and delectably tender baguette, with a bowl of garlic infused olive oil to dip in.  It was a very fine assortment and what’s especially nice is that most of these items are available for purchase from the store.

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Stuffed Peppadews ($9), pickled African peppers, genoa salami, goat cheese, aged balsamic.

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Roasted Vegetable Flatbread ($13) with roasted tomato-black olive tapenade, roasted mushrooms, arugula, kalamata olives, goat cheese with the addition of roast duck.

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Prosciutto wrapped dates $10, medjool dates filled with blue cheese spread, wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with blood orange balsamic.  These were very rich and decadent, a savory-sweet end to our meal.  Thank you We Olive for the friendly education, exquisite samples, delicious foods and wine, we really had a lovely time!

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In the back of the restaurant is a beautiful patio area

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It was a little chilly and rainy but I bet this will be awesome when the weather warms up.

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There were some lovely rustic live planters on display.

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And after a weekend away from my kitties, I was happy to see they have a resident cat.

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The store is open daily, Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kirk February 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm

We enjoyed tasting the various olive oils at their SLO location FH.

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