This past weekend was an eye-opening one for me at Oliana in West Hollywood. The recently opened space in the Pavilions shopping center on Santa Monica Blvd is not just a retail store, it's like a hands-on learning center, offering free tastings of over 45 fresh extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars. There is a central island lined with tanks of premium oils, arranged from the lightest to the fuller body and more pungent, from classic blends to specialty oils infusions like Herbs de Provence, and a wall of balsamic vinegar infused with interesting flavors from coconut to dark chocolate.
Owners Randy and Dax are incredibly knowledgeable about olive oil, from branch to bottle, and are eager to share what they know. I learned so much from just 10 minutes with Dax, about smoke points, polyphenols, regions, the benefits of fresh pressed oils and what to look for when tasting oils. The guys treat olive oil and vinegar with a reverence normally seen in the wine world - but without all the snobbery. It's clear that they have true passion for the subject and really just want to make enjoyment of premium oils and vinegars accessible to everyone.
The airy, sunny space is inviting and a fun place to browse through on your own (with Dax as tour guide) or to experience with a friend - and all without high pressure sales tactics!
Some cool sounding and tasty concoctions were Blackberry Ginger Basil, Fig and Garlic, and Basil Coconut. I could especially see the Basil Coconut blend being used in a Thai-inspired salad! I love that Oliana offers recipes with ideas for how to use the oils/ vinegars on their site.
1MB Deal Tip: Before you leave, be sure to sign up for Oliana's mailing list and get a free 200ml bottle of olive oil on your birthday!
And check their Facebook for info about their Grand Opening event coming soon: August 11th 6pm-8:30pm!
Oliana Premium Olive Oils and Vinegars
8951 Santa Monica Blvd Suite J, West Hollywood, CA 90069