Telluride Olive Oil Company is a tasting gallery specializing in olive oils and balsamics from around the world, offering yet another means for Telluride’s epicures to expand their culinary horizons.
True to its name, the Telluride Olive Oil Company boasts an impressive array of olive oil varietals, from the Los Angeles County Fair’s Gold Medal winning Arbequina to the “crown jewel of Greek extra virgin olive oils” the Koroneiki – and everything in between, from across the Mediterranean to an organic varietal from California.
In addition, the store tenders almost two dozen flavored olive oils, from traditional favorites like oregano, rosemary, Italian herb, and roasted garlic, to more exotic flavors like butter, bacon, black truffle, Meyer lemon, and citrus habanero. All the flavored varieties are made with Moroccan olive oil base, which lends a creamy and buttery foundation for flavored oils, says the store’s manager Donovan Williamson.
Telluride Olive Oil Company’s selection of balsamic vinegar is just as varied and impressive as its olive oil collection, boasting nearly 30 different flavors that span the taste spectrum, all made of natural extracts blended with the Telluride Olive Oil Company’s traditional 18-year-aged Modena balsamic. On the savory end find the chili, smoked, garlic cilantro, and black walnut; while on the sweeter side uncover such surprising finds as caramel, cinnamon pear, white strawberry peach, and a customer favorite, chocolate raspberry.
While Telluride Olive Oil Company’s products will certainly pique the imaginations of accomplished chefs and adept foodies alike, the new culinary shop isn’t only for those with a culinary bent.
“We like to have fun in here,” admits Williamson, a professionally trained chef whose parents Becky and Dave Liss started the Creede Olive Oil Company in Creede, Colo., in 2011. That branch’s success lead to the launch of the Telluride store, which opened in November.
Stepping into the cozy, wood paneled Main Street shop is like taking a quick jaunt to a cooking school, with Williamson and assistant manager and fellow chef Andrew Sibley offering counsel for how to best utilize the products.
Wondering what to do with the espresso or blueberry balsamic vinegar? Or how best to utilize the subtle tones of the blood orange olive oil? Williamson, who says he’s happy to be out of commercial kitchens and experimenting instead with dishes inspired by his family’s business, has your answer: Rub the espresso balsamic on a thick steak for a flavorful marinade, drizzle the blueberry balsamic over waffles for a contemporary twist on Sunday brunch, and use the blood orange oil to saute scallops.
Still not sure about how to use the specialty oils and balsamics? Tellurideoliveoil.com has recipes to share, and the store is, after all, called a “tasting gallery”: Anything, and everything, on the store’s shelves can be sampled before purchasing. A bottle of the balsamic runs $18, while the oils are $16.
“This has really given me the chance to do more exploring in the kitchen, while working with some amazing products,” Williamson says of his role as the store’s manager and in-house connoisseur.
The Telluride store also offers other rare condiments, from Canadian mustards to Tazmanian honey to hot sauce from Honduras, even handmade pasta from Denver and jams and jellies from Durango. The Telluride Salt Mine, within the shop, has all the specialty salts aspiring chefs could hope for, while the shop also boasts handmade glycerine soaps, all-natural Italian olive oil moisturizers, artisan jewelry and leather handbags, clothes, cookbooks, owner Dave Liss’ award-winning Wholly Smokes salsa, custom gift baskets, and more.
“My parents travel all over the world, and they don’t bring home souvenirs, they bring home food,” Williamson says of Telluride Olive Oil Company’s wares. “We’ve really built our product lists through searching out the best quality products we can find.”
Telluride Olive Oil Company is located on Colorado Avenue’s west end, and is open daily.