During the past year, the Hill team has frequented several olive oil and avocado tastings. From Temecula, CA. to Rockland, ME. I know we need to try out Queen Creek Olive Oil Company as it is quite close, but have not experienced it yet.

Just as Arizona is expanding its wine production, we were delighted to read that Olive Oil tasting has arrived in the Verde Valley. This is fun, healthy , and an easy way to add exception flavor to dishes your prepare. We are looking forward to discovering more of what they have to offer.

I’d like to thank AZ Communications Group for providing this information.

Cottonwood, AZ – Dark chocolate vinegar, a dozen flavors of olive oil…who would have thought?  Olive oil tasting rooms are popping up in the trendiest cities on the west coast from LA to Napa Valley, and now in the Verde Valley. When visiting the Verde Valley Wine Trail in the heart of the Cottonwood/Sedona red rock country, stop in the Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders to see what the trend it all about. This unique store is now open in Old Town Cottonwood and has 32 varieties of fresh, healthy and very affordable olive oil and balsamic vinegars to taste.

Already home to some terrific wineries and tasting rooms, the Verde Valley is an ideal setting for olive oil tasting. As different as wine and olive oil may seem, they are both a unique art form. Olive oil growing techniques and tasting are as precise as those for wine, and thanks to the health-conscious trend of millions eager to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, tasty selections of olive oils are being discovered. In Italy and many other European cultures, olive oil tastings are very common. Europeans have long enjoyed tasting each different flavor before purchasing just the right ones. Balsamic vinegar is a tasty and healthy choice, and like wine, is made from grapes. Dark balsamic vinegar is produced from red grapes and white balsamic vinegar is produced from white grapes. Once you begin experimenting with different flavors and adding them to your favorite recipes, you won’t want to go back to salad dressings or other less healthy common oils!

The experience of tasting all the different olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders is truly relaxed and fun. Each of the flavored oils and balsamic vinegars are displayed in beautiful Italian futis, stainless steel airtight dispensers that keep every drop fresh and tasty. As a part of complimentary tastings, visitors can sample a range of flavored extra-virgin olive oils including roasted garlic, cilantro, and all-natural butter. All of the vinegars are at least 12 years old, Italian produced super premium balsamic vinegars and come in a variety of flavors as well, from blueberry to blackberry-ginger; they even have a dark chocolate flavor! Perfect for drizzling over fruit or ice cream for dessert and a much healthier option than the traditional syrups.

Owners Mike Kilpatrick and Dawn Waltman fell in love with Cottonwood’s historic atmosphere and home town feel four years ago and knew they wanted to be a part of the community. Combined with their location on Main Street and being neighbors with two Verde Valley Wine Trail tasting rooms, Pillsbury Wine Co. and Arizona Stronghold, they knew it would be the perfect place to open their store.

“Olive oil tasting is fun! And definitely unique here in America, but for many Mediterranean cultures it is normal to taste and purchase olive oil from a tasting room. To an Italian, olive oils and balsamic vinegars are like wine, you wouldn’t want to purchase it until you have had a chance to taste it.” Kilpatrick says.

When visiting the Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders, a complimentary tasting isn’t the only bonus to enjoy. They also offer great recipes and pairing advice when cooking with the different flavored olive oils.

Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders is located at 1014 N. Main St. in Old Town Cottonwood. They are open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information visit www.vvwinetrail.com

Big Blend Magazine NoraLyn
Member: Society of Professional Journalists

“Success” was Indie Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards