After a wonderful dinner downtown, my friends Jim and Kim and I meandered around Market Square and found our way to the Tree and Vine, an olive oil and balsamic tasting shop. It looked so appealing from the outside so we went in to investigate.
|The tasting bar|
I really only wanted to taste the basil-infused olive oil and traditional balsamic vinegar combo that had solicited that comment. Pretty soon, I was working my way down the counter dipping bread into one oil/balsamic combo after another and sipping infused aged balsamic vinegars from tiny white cups.
And then Paul said the magic word: chocolate. What?!
He led me over to the chocolate-infused balsamic vinegar and gave me a taste. It would be good drizzled on desserts like ice cream, he said. (And I'm thinking, "yeah, like I would ever do that.")
"Wait one second," Paul said. He went to the back and brought out a small cup of vanilla ice cream for me. Oh, yes he did. "Drag a spoon of the ice cream through the chocolate vinegar."
Then there was blueberry balsamic vinegar. And then mandarin orange balsamic vinegar. Wow. Talk about a taste explosion. I was hooked.
|Paul the proprietor (and a former naval aviator)|
As we left the store, Jim, Kim and I excitedly discussed what tasty creations we would make with our oils and vinegars. (Ribs brushed with chipotle olive oil, anyone?)
Who knew that a spontaneous stop would turn into such an exciting evening?
What an unexpected and unusual food adventure, and what a treat.