When it comes to cooking, there are certain ingredients that you just can’t do without. Ingredients such as balsamic vinegars and olive oils. Over the past few years, olive oils in particular have become somewhat of an obsession with some cooks. I have a few friends who go nuts over infused olive oils. Then there’s my wife who’s a purist and loves extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Whatever your preference, infused or not, shots in the morning for the health nuts (also see here for EVOO benefits), or those who stick with the oils (and vinegars) in their original flavor profiles, there are businesses out there that cater to all of your needs and wants.
For those living in North Buffalo, or for anyone who tends to hop around looking for different varietals, Sandy Hofschneider has opened The House of Olives at 1211 Hertel Avenue. Sandy and her family recently moved back to Buffalo from Charlotte where she owned an olive oil business. She and her son Justin have fixed up storefront that was in need of some serious living. From removing drop ceilings and exposing the intact and original tin paneling, to installing new flooring, the shop looks fantastic. “We are really excited to be a part of the Hertel Avenue Community,” Sandy told me. “We are so happy with our location and the character that the 100 year old building offers.”
Yesterday I stopped in to pick check the place out and grab some olive oil for a rare stay-at-home dinner. Not being a cook myself, I was a bit perplexed at the infuse selection, which included butter, chipotle, jalapeno, scallion, basil and garlic mushroom (see products). I figured that my wife should try something new and different so I grabbed a bottle of the garlic mushroom ($15) and continued to poke around the place. I complimented the owners on the fresh look of the store, and sampled a few of the flavors to see what I had been missing all these years.”The vision of The House of Olives is to become an anchor store for the expanding Hertel Avenue Community,” Sandy said. “We continually seek out the freshest extra virgin olive oils and herbs and spices from all over the world as well as balsamic vinegars that promise a dynamic flavor profile. We will continue to expand our product line and customize what we offer to the meet the needs and expectations of our clientele.”
Other items that are available at The House of Olives are spices, sea salts and herbs. Sandy is also looking to possibly carry dried pastas, olives, breads, etc, and is interested to hear what her customers have to say when it comes to exploring new products. In the meantime, if you’re a fan of green apple, Habanero peppers, chocolate, or figs, these are just some of the unusual olive oil and balsamic vinegar flavors that can now be found on Hertel Avenue. “You can take a simple pasta dish or salad and create ever-changing dinners by just adding these different flavors,” Justin pointed out. “Our oils are from Modena Italy and our balsamics have been aged for twelve years. It’s as easy as getting some fresh bread and experimenting with the flavors to figure out what suits you best. Or try different recipes (see here) pairings (see here), which will open a whole other world of flavors to the mix.”
As for Sandy’s favorite flavor in the shop, “That’s a tough one,” she pondered. “It’s a toss up between the basil and garlic. The flavor is so distinct and as with all our oils so versatile. You don’t need to be a culinary chef to create a great meal with these products. Dipping bread, over salads or used as a finish over your meat, chicken or seafood…the flavors just pop! And your friends will think you took a culinary class.”
*Mention you saw House of Olives on Buffalo Rising and get a 10% discount on your purchase.