About two years ago I discovered Baker & Olive, a specialty olive oil and balsamic vinegar store in Encintas. Three weeks ago they opened their second location in Carmel Valley.Needless to say, I was overjoyed as its right in my own backyard. If you never had the chance to visit them in Encinitas, make the effort now, today.Baker & Olive is best known for their 18-year aged balsamic vinegars and the freshest extra virgin olive oils in southern California.Once inside either location, their knowledgeable staff greets you and will happily give you the tasting tour of anything you want to try. With over two dozen each of balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oils, there is definitely something for everyone.It is simply just a taste away.
When I first sampled their 18 year traditional balsamic, I knew my next stop was the farmers market to get some heirloom tomatoes. Amazing. Then I was tempted to try a white balsamic vinegar. Who knew these even existed, and a peach infused one at that. I was overwhelming surprised at the freshness of this simple, single ingredient. I added spring mix to my shopping list. Now I needed and wanted an olive oil. One to go with each of my balsamic vinegars. After tasting a few single varietal olive oils, I could not leave without a bottle of the Cobrancosa from Portugal. I had never tasted anything so fresh, so fruity, so lovely. My second bottle was a Eureka Lemon evoo which they paired up with my peach balsamic. I am salivating now just thinking about it. I then added to my order an organic French loaf for dinner and an organic sunflower flax bread for breakfast and was happily out the door and on my way home to feast.
Besides the extensive collection of oils and vinegars, any novice cook or seasoned gourmand will feel they have stepped into foodie heaven once inside the doors of baker & olive. Shoppers are soon to be regulars after just one visit. Fresh baked artisanal breads, sea salts, mustards, honeys, tea, jams and crackers. Cookbooks, olive oil soap, unique gift items, and these great little oil and vinegar sample packs they call their “flavor zing boxes.” Four smaller bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that they have paired up and cleverly named for gift giving or home use. The “just grill it” pack is perfect for Fathers Day and “summer sizzle” is great for any teacher. And the price is right at just $24.99.
Baker & Olive is my new favorite store and customers come from the entire county to shop there. I now understand why. Visit them at their new location at 12925 El Camino Real, in the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, near the fountain or call (858) 350-1300. The Encinitas location is at 165 South El Camino Real in the 99 cent/LA fitness center.
Visit our website bakerandolive.com for hours and more information or call (760) 944-7840.