Con' Olio Oils & Vinegars
Con' Olio has an exemplary product line that includes flavor-infused extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars
Reviewed by Virginia B. Wood, Fri., May 21, 2010
Con' Olio Oils & Vinegars10000 Research #130, 342-2344
Monday-Thursday, 10am-7pm; Friday-Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, noon-6pm
Austin is an enthusiastic market for artisan foods, whether companies manufacture delicacies or import them, as this small, classy shop in the Arboretum does. Con' Olio proprietors Jeff and Tabatha Conarko proudly offer an exemplary product line that includes flavor-infused and varietal extra virgin olive oils imported from both the northern and southern hemispheres annually to ensure freshness, plus truffle oils and a wide selection of aged and flavor-infused balsamic vinegars. Each product is available to taste with guidance from the Conarkos or their knowledgeable staff. The shop exudes warmth and substance with gleaming hardwood floors and well-stocked shelves. Simply fill out a tasting notes list, and the staff will prepare a tray of tiny servings of oil paired with petite bits of baguette or little servings of vinegar for your tasting pleasure.
A friend joined me at Con' Olio last week, and we tasted a wide variety of delectable flavors. We started with infused olive oils, some with the intense flavors of citrus, some with subtle herb notes, even one with smoky chipotle. From there, we moved on to varietal oils from Spain, Greece, France, and Italy. I purchased 200-milliliter bottles of a brightly flavored lemon olive oil ($9.95), which I envision using to sauté shrimp, garlic, shallots, and preserved lemons to serve over pasta, and a mellow Spanish Arbosana for general cooking. Next up – the vinegars. I'll admit to being less than enthusiastic about balsamic vinegar since the Northern Italian condiment was so egregiously overused by chefs during its trendy heyday, but the selection available here really piqued my interest. After sampling the Sicilian lemon, tangerine, and summer peach flavor-infused vinegars, I can imagine using a splash of any of them to brighten up a pot of berry jam or refreshing summer drinks or to add sparkle to a dessert syrup. Now I know I'll be going back to Con' Olio.