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By Brittany Tiplady

We have Europe to thank for the invention of olive oil and balsamic tasting bars. Now, olive oil specialty shops are popping up around Metro Vancouver and making quite the impression on curious foodies.

Artisanal olive oil shops don’t just have bottles of beautiful oils (and most also have a large selection of vinegars) on display, olive oil tastings bars present an interactive and educational experience. Customers can peruse the lineup of fustis, special stainless-steel jars that store olive oil and balsamics, and learn about the flavours, origins, and make of each oil and vinegar. Tasting olive oils offers a sensory experience for the consumer, bringing the flavour profile we usually read on a label right to your palate.

Vancouver Olive Oil Company
Vancouver Olive Oil Company

“Smaller boutique shops get people talking about traceability when it comes to olive oil. Shops like ours educate customers on who you are supporting, and the freshness of the oils; I fell in love with the business concept because of this education. I really enjoy it,” says Vancouver Olive Oil Company owner, Michael-Ann Dodds.

“We started educating the public on extra virgin olive oil and what to look for. When an oil has been made, you should be looking for a harvest date or a crushed date, and consuming the oil within a year of that time.”

Vancouver Olive Oil Company is the first olive oil tasting shop in British Columbia and since, the trend has continued to flourish throughout Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, fueling the farm-to-table food movement right down to the condiment.

Check out the list of artisanal olive oil specialty shops in Metro Vancouver:

The Vancouver Olive Oil Company
A family owned business and the first shop of its kind in the province. This Kitsilano staple has a vast selection of artisanal oils and vinegars to sample and purchase. My personal favourite: the wild mushroom and sage olive oil.
2571 West Broadway, Vancouver. Open Tuesday-Sunday.

vooc.ca

Coastal Olive Oils
A South Delta gem that offers a full tasting room with a bevvy of flavours and varieties to sample and purchase.
1315 56 St Unit 121, Delta (Tsawwassen). Open seven days a week.

www.coastaloliveoils.ca

Heringers Meats
This Steveston staple is not just a butcher shop. Heringers offers a generous selection of artisanal olive oils to complete your shopping list in our place. No lineup of fustis for sampling here, but premium products available all the same.
190, 12251 No 1 Rd, Richmond. Open Tuesday to Saturday.
heringersmeats.com

Kimm Brickman-Pineau and Glenn Pineau of All Of Oils | Image courtesy of All Of Oils, Surrey
Kimm Brickman-Pineau and Glenn Pineau of All Of Oils | Image courtesy of All Of Oils, Surrey

All of Oils-Wholesome Oils and Vinegars
This shop is at the helm of artisanal olive oil shops in the Fraser Valley.  Check out their various locations for extra virgin olive oils, flavoured olive oils, speciality oils, balsamic vinegars, and flavoured vinegars.  Added bonus: you’ll  find many certified organic, gluten free, and kosher products on the shelves.
South Surrey location-#160-2940 King George Blvd.
Langley location-20450 Douglas Crescent.
Abbotsford location-#102A-2649 Trethewey St.
All locations open seven days a week.

Olives on Tap
Since opening in 2012, Olives on tap is the North Shores pioneer of artisanal olive oils and tastings, providing guests with a wealth of knowledge on their selection of premium extra virgin oils and vinegars.

928 16th St W, North Vancouver. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

olivesontap.com

Rain City Olives
Olive oil, like everything in 2017, is now available online. Rain City Olives is an e-commerce shop based in Vancouver that offers naturally fused and infused olive oil from all over the world. Shop online or find Rain City Olives at a local seasonal market.
raincityolives.ca

By Nikki Hillman

You’ll know Rocco’s is passionate about supporting local as soon as you enter the store. The seating area is dominated by two, long wooden tables, built by a company directly across the street, who salvaged fallen trees from within the area. These tables foster traditional Italian family dining and, if you’ve visited Italy, you will be familiar with this concept – and Rocco’s is definitely about family.

The store is managed by Andy and Jana Mollica (a retired Air Canada employee) and their trusted employee, general manager and chef, Pat Toynbee. Stop by on a weekday afternoon and you could be entertained by their adorable children as they munch on pepperoni sticks from behind the deli glass.

Interior of Rocco’s, with family tables made of salvaged local wood.
Interior of Rocco’s, with family tables made of salvaged local wood.

Rocco’s opened in August of 2015 and has quickly become the go-to place for coffee, meats, cheeses and treats. Most of the pastries are made in store; try a café misto and a house-made apple fritter for a lovely afternoon snack. The coffee is out of this world, hand crafted on a classic Victoria Arduino espresso machine, producing the perfect crema.

Try a perfect café misto from a classic Victoria Arduino espresso machine.
Try a perfect café misto from a classic Victoria Arduino espresso machine.

Andy himself has enjoyed a long history within the BC food industry as a caterer, and most notably as the owner of Anducci’s in Coquitlam. But Andy admits that he has been searching for his niche in the food market and has finally found his passion with Rocco’s. There are so many delicious options in the small store; in-house prepared pasta dishes, pastries, muffins and soups along with dry goods imported from Italy. Their pizza dough is prepared with flour sourced from the Prairies and they are careful to support local bakeries for their breads, rolls and baguettes.

 In-house made pastries.
In-house made pastries.

Of course, given the owner’s background, Rocco’s offers catering and if you are looking for a charcuterie option you will not be disappointed with the choice of products, or the quality of the meats and cheeses. The plate he offered us featured the classics such as prosciutto and salami but also included some unique and spicy flavors, complimented with flavorful and colorful olives. (I highly recommend the Port Wine Derby cheese!)

If you are looking for a healthier replacement of the standard deli meats for yours, or your children’s lunches, Rocco’s prepares sliced, roasted, organic chicken and turkey along with an in-house cured roast beef. When these meats are paired with the fresh breads and buns, Rocco’s offers some amazing panini’s available for lunch or take out.

But the most interesting aspect of this deli is the refillable olive oil program. This grew in part from a fond memory for Andy. As a child, he remembers visiting a local store with his uncle, who would take along small, glass containers which they would re-fill with grappa. With a growing trend toward “bring your own container” shopping, Rocco’s is on point with this initiative. Shoppers simply purchase the bottles available in the store (there are two sizes) and the staff will fill it with a neutral, filtered, extra virgin olive oil well suited for dressings and sauces. I took home a small bottle of the oil, paired it with a balsamic vinegar reduction, a ciabatta bun and an olive baguette. My family and I were impressed by the fresh taste and smell of this oil, it was unlike any store bought oil I’ve tried before.

Refills are available of fresh, extra virgin olive oil.
Refills are available of fresh, extra virgin olive oil.

Rocco’s will soon undergo a small reno during which Andy will realize his long term goal of balancing his coolers with 50% Rocco’s in-house cured meats and 50% imported Italian meats. They also plan to begin an “Italian happy hour” offering beer, wine and mixed cocktails between 4-8pm; charcuterie included in the price. This is a great place to stop on your way home from work, celebrating a traditional Italian activity proving their motto “We eat what we sell, we sell what we eat.”

Before you visit, make sure to download Rocco’s Deli app, and begin earning a point for every dollar you spend in their store, redeemable for merchandise.

Rocco’s Deli Eatalian Street Food and Deli
228 Schoolhouse Road
Coquitlam, BC
roccosdeli.ca

Open: Mon-Sat 7am-6pm, Sun 10-5pm, and conveniently located near Zone Bowling Coquitlam and across the street from Cineplex SilverCity, a 20 screen movie theatre.

By Sheliza Mitha & The City of Coquitlam

The temperate climate of BC’s Lower Mainland makes it especially easy to enjoy impromptu (and planned) barbecues and picnics – particularly in the warmer months of spring, summer and early fall. So, why not take it easy on yourself and enjoy the weather… and let someone else (preferably an expert!) do all the prep work?

Enter Coquitlam’s array of specialty and multicultural delis, where you’ll find everything from authentic Italian salami and street food to Eastern European delights and even some flavourful Persian treats and meat.

Here are just a few Coquitlam delis (in alphabetical order) where you can pop in and grab what you need for a quick and delicious meal:

Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering

1-555 North Road

Tucked away in Coquitlam’s North Road, this eclectic deli features most anything one could imagine from Central, Eastern and Northern Europe. Think smoked fish, sturgeon caviar, and hard-to-find salamis and sausages (including Pick salami, reputed to be the world’s oldest salami recipe) and cheese (such as Greek sheep cheese and creamy Macedonian goat cheese). You’ll also find some delicious house-made items – including salads, borscht, goulash, cabbage rolls, poppy-seed strudels, etc. While here, enjoy a cup of tea and the specialty item of the day (fresh crepes anyone?). Or snack on a frozen treat reminiscent of a mini cheesecake dipped in chocolate. Pick up a unique drink made from bread (yes, bread). This colourful store also carries an impressive variety of pickled vegetables, spices, teas, coffee, ginger breads and dry breads from Latvia, Russia and Ukraine, along with authentic Russian candy, chocolate and much more.

Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering
Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering

Giancarlo Deli

1115 A/B Austin Avenue

Giancarlo’s might just be one of the most perfectly casual spots to get your Italian caffeine fix in Coquitlam. While here, check out the colourful shelves of pasta, sauces, imported biscuits, crackers, juices and more. Dine in with one of the freshly made sandwiches or take home items for later such as homemade lasagne, sauces and an array of cheese and savoury cold cuts from the deli case (salami, prosciutto, rosemary ham and more).

Rocco’s Deli Eatalian Street Food & Market

228 Schoolhouse Street

A visit here yields a true taste of Italy with fresh panini, salads and deli items that include Italian charcuterie and a fully-stocked market of authentic pasta sauces and other Italian staples. Olive oil connoisseurs will especially love Rocco’s olive oil tap, where you can browse and refill your own bottles. Be sure to also visit Rocco’s website to get some healthy, homemade and tasty recipes… then make your way here to pick up the ingredients. (Yes, it’s that simple.)

Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering
Euro Food Tri-City Deli & Catering

Sumbul Supermarket

A – 1037 Ridgeway Avenue

With friendly staff always at the ready, Sumbul has a full offering of fresh and frozen halal meat, such as beef, lamb, chicken, turkey as well as a variety of specialty Middle Eastern groceries. Along with ample selections of Basmati rice and halwa, you’ll also find fresh fruit, vegetables and bulk items of nuts, raisins, dried berries, toasted pine nuts and other essentials.

Tina European Deli

931 Brunette Avenue

This European deli features an array of culinary delights that are sure to please most any appetite and palate. From canned goods to sweet treats and more, this deli is home to some flavourful ingredients and foods that are uniquely European.

Urban Gate

102 – 1158 The High Street

Part restaurant/part deli, Urban Gate has it all. Along with a full-service restaurant, Urban Gate features a Middle Eastern/Persian supermarket that presents everything from local and imported spices to an entire corner dedicated to some impressive (and tantalizing) pastries. In another section, you’ll find some remarkably fresh cuts of meat (including a one-of-a-kind lamb selection) with expert, knowledgeable butchers who are ready to slice and dice. All you have to do is fire up that oven or barbeque.

Urban Gate pastries
Urban Gate pastries