The other night I had the most phenomenal dinner. We always here of wine pairing dinners, but Olive and June and Con Olio’s Oils and Vinegar joined up to create an olive oil pairing dinner. Each dish was delightfully made with one of the freshest oils from Con Olio’s.
To top it off, we still got to enjoy wine pairings with each dish from the intelligent and adorable, Pier Manna, from Serendipity Wines.
If you read my previous post on Con Olio’s, you know that Jeff and Tabatha Conarko own the cutest olive oil and vinegar shop that I have ever stepped foot in.
Jeff and Tabatha were so impressed by the oils in Italy, they decided to open up shop in Austin, TX (instead of smuggling bottles to the states). Con Olio has the freshest and most flavorful olive oils and vinegars that I have tried.
It is a common belief that you can only cook with olive oil at lower temperatures because it has a low smoke point. However, this only goes for the cheap-made olive oils that you can find in the grocery stores. Pure olive oil, which you find in Europe, and at Con Olio, has a much higher smoke point.
If you take a visit, you can sample any oils before you buy… I highly, highly recommend the traditional olive oil with some espresso balsamic vinegar and honey ginger white balsamic.
Add Con Olio’s oils to the fresh, heavenly Italian flavors that Shawn Cirkiel has mastered at Olive and June, and your mind is blown. Absolutely blown.
We sat at the Chef’s table (who knew there was such a thing!), which was a private room behind the kitchen. Now this doesn’t happen very often, actually ever… so I was feeling super cool. Then, I go in to meet talented writers from Texas Monthly, Escoffier, Austin 360, Austin-American Statesman and other awesome publications.
Oh, no big deal… here I am, this little fresh finder, just trying to fit in and not get food stuck in my teeth. Needless to say, I felt very honored to be asked to eat and enjoy, and that, I sure did.
We started off with the “aperitivo” (I love all the Italian influence!) which was whipped lardo, salsa verde radish, marinated sweet peppers and house made bresaola. The best part was the peppers, which were marinated in the Hojiblanca olive oil. I cut into my pepper, and the oil oozed out, and I dug in with some fresh bread. Mmmm!
Sparking white wine: Emilia Romagna, Branchini Pignoletto Frizzante. I am not a huge white fan, but I was loving this sparkly, sweet note to add to my palate.
The second, formaggio, was House-made warm Burrata, with Carmelized Sweet Onion, Green Onion and Fried Garlic.
I talked about burrata in my pizza post, and it keeps popping it’s way into my palate… I think it’s a sign, and I should go with it :) Anyway, this burrata was warm and topped with a fruity oil, Leccino, and was incredible. I topped the bread with sweet onions, creamy burrata, buttery oil, and salty fried garlic… it was quite the party in my mouth.
Third, zuppo, was a minestrone with seasonal veggies and a basil pesto. First, they bring the veggies out, and then, pour the broth right in front of you. That was neat! I’ve never seen that done before.
Of course, we kept getting new wine glass after wine glass. And of course, I kept drinking them.
Fourth, antipasto, was Raviolini, filled with Cannellini Bean, Ricotta, Soppressata, Parsley and Pecorino. It was topped with mushrooms that were freakishly addicting, which I found out later, were marinated in the Italian blend olive oil.
Fifth, primo piatto, was the Olive Oil Poached Monkfish with grape tomato, olives, and sweet pepper juice. This fish was an excellent way to show that Con Olio’s oils can withstand higher temps. It was paired with the Koroneiki olive oil, from a Greek olive.
Sixth (Ridiculous I know, right?), secondo piatto, was a Lamb Loin that was grilled with FS17 San Pietro Olive Oil.
And last, dolce, for dessert we had Con Olio Blood Orange EVOO Cake with candied olives, corn crumble and EVOO gelato. The cake was soaked in blood orange oil and had a delicious citrus flavor.
The talent behind the food is remarkable and the oils brought out the flavors in each dish. Getting to sit at this table and enjoy all of it with great company was quite the treat.
I can’t wait to stop in Con Olio because this season, Con’ Olio is highlighting 12 unique and freshly pressed extra virgin olive oils from the Southern hemisphere (which has an opposite growing season to the traditional Fall harvest of the Northern Hemisphere). These Southern Hemisphere grows in the summer months and these oils were all pressed within the past few months. So they are fresh fresh fresh (find)! Sorry, I had to.
Stop by Con Olio’s Oils and Vinegar and see for yourself!