By Brooke Wasowicz
The new year has just begun, and much like you, we are ready to pack a bag and hop on the nearest flight to practically anywhere. As a local shop that curates our natural olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world, we thought we would take another trip through taste with you, just in case you’re not quite ready to book that ticket.
Rafter Eleven prides itself on using and selling only the purest and highest quality products. To do that we search around the world for the best of the best. Everything we sell in our store we proudly use in our home every day.
Buckle up and settle in because we have a trip around the world planned just for you to showcase where we get our fine ingredients and products.
First stop: Tunisia, which, for those who are unfamiliar, is located in Northern Africa and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. Tunisia is only a brisk 13-hour flight across the world and is home of the Baklouti Green Chile. If you like a little spice that has a slow, sultry burn, then this chile is for you! Rafter Eleven carries a Baklouti Green Chile olive oil that comes directly from Tunisia and it has been a client favorite since we opened. The Baklouti Green Chile pairs amazingly with a tropical balsamic vinegar like Mango, making a zesty fish marinade or even a bold salad dressing.
Next stop: Argentina and Chile. These South American countries are rich in culture with strong roots in traditional cuisine, many of which utilize naturally infused olive oils and vinegars. You can replicate this cooking style by using bold flavors such as Garlic olive oil for proteins or Meyer Lemon olive oil for subtle citrus notes when baking vegetables in the oven. These olive oils are great on their own (like cooking French fries in Garlic olive oil), but are complimented by many different types of balsamic vinegars. The Garlic olive oil can be married with the Sicilian Lemon balsamic vinegar for a tasty marinade. The Meyer Lemon olive oil is great to use in baking, or pairs perfectly with the Cranberry Pear balsamic balsamic vinegar for a salad dressing that you will regret having not tried earlier!
Now we’re off to Europe! Some of our favorite countries like Spain, Portugal, and Italy bring us a few of our favorite flavors! Europe is a hub for great food, and it’s expressed in the olive oil we get from them. All our olive oils are 100% natural with zero sugar and a whole lot of health benefits. Olive oil is a natural fat that is good for the heart and body, making it a healthier alternative to other processed oils and butter. When we think of Italy, we immediately think of our Tuscan Herb olive oil, another fan favorite our locals love. This bold, Italian-herb-infused oil is great for toasting bread on the stove, or better yet, for dipping warm bread in, just like you would at a traditional Italian restaurant. Again, this oil can stand by itself just fine, but to enhance the Italian flavors we love to pair it with our most popular balsamic vinegar: the Traditional 18-Year Aged balsamic vinegar. This dark vinegar enhances just about any dish, from salad dressings to marinades to a thick reduction to drizzle over a filet.
Our olive oils come from many different places around the world, which is partly due to the types of olives that are grown in specific locations, but it is also because of the weather. The time of year is a significant factor as to where we get our oils. Half of the year we get our oils from the northern hemisphere and once they head into fall and begin to cool off, we start to receive shipments from the southern hemisphere, even places as far as Australia! As far as our balsamic vinegars go, they exclusively come from Modena, Italy. Modena is known for providing the highest quality aged balsamic vinegar.
Rafter Eleven is a locally owned and operated C.O.W. bar with an international flair. C.O.W. stands for Coffee, Olive Oil and Wine, which just happen to be our three favorite things to share with our community! Come visit us for an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting catered to your exact tastes and cooking preferences. We love to spend quality time with our clients and show them the unlimited ways to pair our infused oils and vinegars.
Bring this article into our C.O.W. bar for 20% off all regular-sized olive oil purchases for the month of February.
Rafter Eleven is at 2985 N. Centre Court, in Prescott Valley. For more information call 928.227.2050 or visit www.raftereleven.com.