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'Real thing'

Owners of new Peterborough oil, vinegar store: Their products are real thing

Union Leader Correspondent

March 17. 2014 5:38PM
Monadnock Oil and Vinegar owner Kim Homoleski fills an order while Audrey Cass of Peterborough taste tests at the showroom on Saturday. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)

PETERBOROUGH — Monadnock Oil and Vinegar celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday with a food tasting and cooking demonstration.

For store owners Kim Homoleski and Korey Snow of New Ipswich, the event was a way to show off their showroom as well as show customers how to mix and match food and recipes with their wide selection of flavored extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegar.

“These are the healthiest oils and vinegars from across the globe,” Snow said. “We give you a crush date and country of origin so you know exactly what you are getting”

Homoleski and Snow opened the showroom in the Village Grove shopping center in December.

The flavored olive oils they sell include wild mushroom, sage, blood orange, basil and green chili. Balsamic vinegars include espresso, vanilla, pomegranate and black cherry, strawberry, ginger, raspberry and fig. The also sell specialty oils, butternut squash seed, sesame, almond, walnut and truffle.

All of their oil and vinegars are stored in stainless steel tanks until customers come in to purchase a bottle.

Helping a customer on Saturday, Snow recommended drizzling raspberry flavored balsamic and almond oil over oatmeal in the morning.

“It’s a great way to get your vinegar every day,” Snow said, adding balsamic has numerous health benefits, including that it can keep a person’s blood sugar from spiking.

Homoleski said they opened the store after they found themselves traveling to neighboring states such as Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts to purchase these oils and vinegars at specialty stores.

”If we didn’t open this store, someone else would,” she said.

Some makers of olive oils and balsamic vinegars cut corners in the process of making their product and use deceptive labeling that makes it hard to find out exactly what you are getting, they said.

According to a University of California Davis study that pulled olive oil from supermarkets in three counties in California in 2010, “69 percent of imported olive oils came back not meeting the standards for extra virgin olive oil even though they are labeled that way,” Snow said.

“Everything that we bring in we test. So if the farmer does try to cheat the process we’ll know,” Snow said.

When it comes to balsamic vinegar, Snow said, if you check the ingredient list you very often find what the grocery store sells is not balsamic, but red wine vinegar flavored and colored to taste and look like balsamic, he said.

Real balsamic needs to age 18 years, he said, so it’s cheaper to make a similar product and then label it balsamic vinegar and slap an Italian flag on the front.

Cooking a St. Patrick Day-themed salmon and potato meal for customers with the oils and vinegar on hand at the store on Saturday was chef Joe Stanislaw.

He is also from New Ipswich, but didn’t know Homoleski and Snow till his wife bought him some of the stores oils and vinegar for him as a gift.

He was instantly taken with the store and became a regular customer. As a chef, he knows the challenges of finding real extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar locally.

“People need to know there’s a difference from what they put on the grocery food shelves versus what real olive oils need to be as well as balsamic. I love the fact that they are doing this store,” Stanislaw said.

The store was filled Saturday with regular customers wanting to refill their bottles to new customers drawn in by the event like Audrey Cass of Peterborough.

After tasting most of what the store had to offer, Cass bought a variety of oils and vinegars for her cooks at home to try, she said.

“The assortment was really quite tempting and the layout was absolutely gorgeous. They certainly have made it very people friendly and scrumptious to taste,” Cass said.

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