When I was in northern California last month a friend took me to a wonderful olive oil tasting room in Berkeley. Amphora Nueva bottles and sells delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars, many infused with aromatic flavors. In their tasting room you can try pairings such as Blueberry Balsamic vinegar and Eureka Lemon olive oil or Pomegranate Balsamic with Blood Orange olive oil. Tempting exotic infusions such as Grapefruit White Balsamic paired with Harissa olive oil, or Dark Chocolate balsamic with Espresso balsamic, or their delicious Maple balsamic will have you sipping little tastes all around the room.
My favorite pairing was their Honey Ginger White Balsamic and Persian Lime Olive Oil. So deliciously tangy and sweet - nothing else is needed to make this the perfect dressing for fruit or green salads. Strawberry, fresh spinach, feta and almond salad tastes divine drizzled with this pairing. White peaches or french bread topped with brie dipped in the vinegar take on amazing flavors. You could also mix the honey ginger balsamic with sesame oil for a flavorful stir-fry. I bought several bottles on the spot to bring home!
Luckily you don't have to live in Berkeley to enjoy their fine oils and vinegars. You can order whatever you desire from their website and look up recipes at the same time. They even have a list of their best pairings to get you thinking about how to feature the flavors. Prices are affordable (at this writing a 200 ml bottle costs $7) and I think the oils would make fine hostess gifts, wedding presents and holiday treats.
Here's my recipe for a cool break on a hot summer day: a slice of Lemon Drop melon (more tangy than honeydew) with a drizzle of Honey Ginger White balsamic vinegar, a good book (try Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland) and pretty flowers.
Amphora Nueva Tasting Room
2928 Domingo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705
Mon - Sun 10:00 am - 6:00 pm