Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Tasteful Olive opens in Overland Park

Posted by on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 3:06 PM

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Mackey's struck oil in Overland Park
Santa Fe Drive, the main drag of downtown Overland Park, now has two businesses with the word olive in their names: the Olive Branch Art Gallery & Studios at 7915 Santa Fe Drive, which does not sell olive oil, and the two-week-old The Tasteful Olive, which does.

It's a sunny storefront at 7945 Santa Fe, owned by Jeanne Mackey. She says her mother never cooked with olive oil, but did use the historic liquid -- Homer called it "liquid gold" -- for curing earaches when Jeanne was a little girl.

Mackey's business focuses more on the culinary uses of extra-virgin olive oil, although her store does sell olive oil-based shampoos and conditioners, books with olive oil themes (The Healing Powers of Olive Oil is one of the featured paperbacks) and mixes, pan sauces, glazes and crackers. But the real reason to wander through the shop is to learn about and taste her array of oils and balsamic vinegars, including some startlingly fabulous flavors.

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​The top seller so far is a Tunisian oil that has been milled with fresh blood oranges. It was a sensational light, tart citrusy taste, and Mackey encourages visitors to blend in a drop of supple tangerine balsamic vinegar for a knock-out combination. "Wouldn't that make a sensational salad?" she asks.

No question, but one can imagine all kinds of remarkable culinary possibilities -- including marinades, glazes and dipping sauces concocted from one of her seventeen featured oils or richly flavored vinegars like chocolate, black cherry and cinnamon pear. Mackey's husband built custom shelves to hold the array of Italian-made, stainless steel fustis -- airtight containers with spigots -- that Mackey uses to store her inventory. Customers can purchase the products in Mackey's signature glass bottles.

She plans to start offering classes. "I'm still learning more and more about olive oil myself," Mackey notes. And because olive oil has been extracted and used by civilizations for thousands of years, there's a lot to learn.

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