A newborn portal to the wonderful world of olive oil is hoping to thrive next to the Paul Brown Salon in the small-business friendly Ward Center complex. Island Olive Oil Company is an extensive nucleus of foodie fun, where anyone with any level of gastronomic knowledge can saunter in, grab a few bites of crusty bread and dip oils and balsamic vinegars to their heart’s content. A side note, however–owner Dana Bergeman prefers the traditional way of tasting olive oils straight up, sans starch.
The dark wood shelves lining the store’s spacious walls beckon customers to follow the path of oil and vinegar tasting bottles. The journey takes one through oils of increasing intensity toward flavored oils and all the way around to balasmics of unique varieties. Bergeman is erudite in the ways of the olive, having culled quite a strong sampling of the world’s oils. Nowhere in Hawaii is conducive for making olive oil yet, so Bergeman brings in selections based on the time of year–now is the season for the Northern Hemisphere’s oils.
The employees at Island Olive Oil Company are generous with offering tips and tricks for pairing oils with vinegars and foods. Best-sellers include organic garlic extra virgin olive oil, organic Tuscan herb olive oil, Sicilian white balsamic vinegar and traditional balsamic. I was instantly sold upon Island Olive Oil Co.’s dark chocolate balsamic, which Bergeman mentions would taste extraordinary drizzled over vanilla ice cream. Yes, please.Island Olive Oil Company, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Ste. 103, open Mon.–Sat., 10am–9pm, Sun., 10am–6pm, [islandoliveoil.com], 388-8912, Prices: 200mL (6.8oz) $14.95, 375mL (12.7oz) $19.95, 750mL (25.4 oz) $29.95