Monday, June 28, 2010

Finger Lakes Foodie Fun: F. Oliver's Oil & Vinegar Shoppe

I am fortunate to have fellow personal chef/foodie friends that live in Upstate New York, and I was even more fortunate when this weekend I was invited to spend some time with them and stay at one's charming house on Lake Seneca.

First we met for lunch at the New York Wine and Culinary Center.  They have a beautiful stadium style classroom, a full class kitchen (a corporate group was busy at work on a team-building class), a gift shop, library, beautiful gardens on the grounds, and a restaurant with a nice outdoor deck with lake views.

I had a delicious local asparagus BLT with a refreshing apple-fennel slaw.  And of course I sampled a little of the local wine.

After a laughter filled lunch, and a foie gras citrus currant cheesecake - none of really got any hint of foie gras, we headed to a charming local shoppe in Canandaigua which features flavor infused oils and vinegars, F. Olivers.

I of course, am no stranger of the flavored oil and vinegar stores.  The Olive Tap, in Medina, has allowed me to stock up and discover new flavors.  I have also purchased some at The Olive and The Grape at West Side Market, but I have to say theirs are not my favorites.

My friend Mary Beth received a gift certificate for F. Olivers for her birthday and was eager to visit and sample some flavors.  The store is set up with stainless steel containers with taps, called fustis, which allow the customers to pour samples into small cups, and to combine flavors.

I went crazy for the Creamy Coconut Balsamic Vinegar with the Persian Lime Olive Oil.  My friend Laura loved the Walnut Oil with Fig Balsamic.

The proprietor, Penelope Pankow, has a background in marketing and merchandising, and it's evident in the artistic design of the labels and mouthwatering names of the products.

She does ship the products, so don't let the lack of access to a retail shop deter you.  She also hosts group and in-home tastings.

As we tasted our way through the offerings, inspiration struck frequently.  The flavors really do give even the simplest of cooks an instant arsenal of flavor for everyday meals.

So if you are in the Finger Lakes region, please be sure to stop by and visit Penelope and her staff at F. Olivers.


  1. What a great outing, Tami! I love all the flavor combos of the vinegars. IF/when you cook with any you purchased, please post your recipes!

  2. Awesome article Tami!! I hope I can get there at a visit some time!

  3. What a fun day and the store is to die for! So glad you had a great time!


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