Last month, during our family vacation to in South Haven Michigan, we drove up to Saugatuck for day to visit the art galleries and shops. Shortly after lunch, we stumbled upon a small shop called The Olive Mill. From the street, we could see customers standing in front of rows of shiny stainless steel containers.
Curious, we walked in to discover one area of small-batch flavor blended olive oils and on the other side of the store another area of small-batch flavor blended balsamic vinegars . Given our love for cooking, how could we resist the warm offer to sample as many from tiny paper cups as possible. Our kids even got into the action, of course with us helping them pour a little from the spout of each stainless steel container.
Now keep in mind, we had just finished a lunch of freshly fried lake perch and were not exactly hungry. Nonetheless, I first tried the Strawberry Balsamic and my taste buds unexpectedly sprung back to life with delicious excitement. From small-batch traditionally aged balsamic to others including apple, pear, black currant and champagne balsamic. As shown in these pictures, we settled for an amazing Tangerine Balsamic.
While I was sampling the balsamic vinegars, my wife was over with the small-batch olive oils. Flavors included blood orange, walnut, truffle, lime, Meyer lemon (had to try of course), garlic and many more. We settled on an extremely refreshing basil olive oil.
We were so excited by our find, then suddenly heard from across the store one of the clerks say, “Naperville”. We walked over to ask if they had other locations, and the clerk mentioned Naperville. Now I’ll have to admit that in a moment of pride I questioned how could I, the “World of Naperville”, not be aware of this gem of a store in our own backyard. Then as soon as she mentioned the English Rows, it dawned upon me that in fact we had noticed the store in the English Row shops just off of Rt. 59 a number of times. I’ll have to confess though, I made no connection between the name “Olive Mill” and the wonderful hands-on consumer experience and products we sampled.
Thus, last Friday, after having lunch at Tommy Nevins my wife and I walked over to the Naperville Olive Mill store for a closer inspection. Steve greeted us warmly and we enjoyed our conversation about the company and the many rich flavorful products they offer. The store format was almost identical to the Saugatuck store. If you love rich olive oils, balsamic vinegars or any number of related products, I strongly recommend you drop by the Naperville Olive Mill on Rt. 59 at the English Row Shops a short distance south of 95th Street.
In the meantime, here’s recipe I would share from our family dinner this evening:
Grilled Basil and Tangerine Portabello Mushrooms
Start with fresh portabellos from the Naperville Farmers Market (each Saturday during the summer at 5th Street Station). Blend one part basil olive oil with two parts tangerine balsamic vinegar from the Olive Mill. Next, add a couple of fresh bruised basil leaves (ours from a basil plant purchased at Trader Joes in Gartner Plaza) along with some fresh crushed garlic, salt, pepper and a little bit of all seasoning. Marinade the portabello mushrooms in plastic bags for 30 -60 minutes and toss onto a beyond hot grill to sear in the juices.
With so many combinations to consider, the possibility of new flavor experiences from the Olive Mill is seemingly limitless. What are you waiting for? Head over to the Olive Mill to support this wonderful and relatively new Naperville business. This is one place I’m really excited about. SM