Above: Baker & Olive offers a variety of gourmet specialities. Courtesy photo/Baker & Olive
I received notice recently on the grand reopening celebration of Baker & Olive in Encinitas happening May 29 and it served as a timely reminder that I needed to stock up on some of their amazing products.
They actually moved just across the parking lot from their former location but it’s much easier to access and a larger space to showcase their wide variety of gourmet delights. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this one-of-a-kind store here is a quick refresher.
They are a locally owned, chef-inspired specialty shop and tasting pantry with stores in Encinitas, Del Mar, San Diego and Corona Del Mar.
They are passionate about good food and exceptional customer service and are inspired by people with a common connection.
Their culinary team has created a remarkable storefront with artisan cheeses and charcuterie, the finest collection of world-class aged balsamic vinegars, ultra premium freshest harvest olive oils from around the world, boutique wines, salts and seasonings, and an array of local handcrafted food ingredients.
As like any store of that nature, they are constantly evolving, collaborating with regional chefs then sharing that knowledge with their customers. They describe it best as an “old world meets new world, west coast inspired marketplace.”
I’ll start with their olive oils as every foodie who values quality ingredients in their cooking should really have a few bottles from Baker & Olive on hand at all times. Besides their traditional, extra virgin olive oil “EVOO” as its referred to, they have a wide variety of infused oils and all of them are available to taste.
Some of those fabulous infused flavors include basil, blood orange, butter, cilantro and roasted onion, Eureka lemon, garlic, herbs de Provence, Persian lime, Tuscan herb, black truffle and roasted sesame just to name a few.
The culinary applications of these are endless and the staff at Baker & Olive will gladly share their extensive knowledge on their different uses.
In addition to the spectacular selection of olive oils, their aged balsamic vinegars are also worth the trip. The flavor varieties in both the dark and white are all over the map and include fig, blackberry, cinnamon pear, tangerine, black currant, dark chocolate, Vermont maple, strawberry, lavender, and red apple and that’s just on the dark side of things.
All these options could be a bit overwhelming but again, that’s where the knowledgeable staff comes in. That and the ability to taste just about everything they offer before you buy it.
And while the culinary applications are endless, you will find it difficult to buy pre-mixed salad dressing again if you have a few varieties of their olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your countertop.
And yes, keep these out and visible at all times because not only are the bottles quite attractive, their visibility will ensure that they get put to use.
Almost every product offered at Baker & Olive complements one another and could be used either as a simple standalone enhancement to a snack or as an essential ingredient to a gourmet feast.
They have a wide variety of sea salts ranging from Hawaiian Alaea to French Sel Gris to Cyprus Flake. The highest quality spices and rubs are also available to enhance your cooking. It really is amazing how high quality ingredients can elevate your cooking.
And of course what meal would be complete without a fresh baguette and some wonderful cheese. We all know Prager Brothers breads by now and if you don’t please make it a point to seek them out.
They come in fresh at Baker & Olive and there is a cheese counter with a nice selection of options that you can purchase by the pound. Other local vendors include Fit Chick Granola, Flavor Chef Broth and Mighty Booch Kombucha.
They are all about education at Baker & Olive and chef Maria Crow hosts regular classes and brings in area chefs to do the demonstrations.
Culinary authors also stop by for book signings so it’s worth keeping up on their Facebook and Instagram pages or sign up for their eNewsletter to be kept up to date on these fun and educational events.
You can find links to all their social media at www.bakerandolive.com and please note their new address at 215 S. El Camino Real, Encinitas.
Coast News Lick the Plate columnist David Boylan is celebrating 10 years and 500 columns with the Coast News in 2019! His feature covers the ever expanding North County culinary scene that includes restaurants, culinary personalities, trends, observations, tributes and his popular takeover column where area businesses, bands or teams contribute to the column. Lick the Plate has also been a popular radio show for the past eight years in San Diego on 100.7 KFMB, and on stations in Detroit, Michigan, Windsor Ontario and Traverse City, Michigan. Besides the column and radio show, David runs Tatonka Digital & Analog, a boutique marketing agency headquartered in Oceanside, California. Reach him with show suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.lick-the-plate.com