We Olive Folsom
We Olive, one of California’s premier olive oil tasting bars, can be found in the Old Historic District of Folsom California. As we walk through this quaint little part of town, the building facades remind us of days past. Passing antique stores and specialty shops housed within old brick buildings, we find We Olive located in what once was the Opera House. Peering inside the window, we see a store full of goodies and are eager to explore and learn more about the We Olive philosophy.
Upon opening the old window-paned door to We Olive, we are immediately greeted by a man standing behind a beautiful wood tasting bar. “You folks ever been in the store before?” he asks with a big smile on his face. Our reply being this was our first visit, he then introduced himself as Ken, the owner, and gives us a quick tour of how things are set up at We Olive. We are free to taste whatever we wanted. Shiny stainless steel fustis (holding tanks for the oil) are lined up on one side of the store and the tasting bar displays bottles of California’s best olive oils. Overwhelmed by all the choices and not sure where to begin, Ken helps us start our tasting experience.
Ken hands us a small plastic cup filled with a true traditional aged balsamic vinegar. “Here, try this. You’re going to love it!” he says with excitement. You can tell he can hardly wait to see what we think. We take a sip and WOW! It’s smooth and sweet, not what you would expect from a vinegar. He tells us that this aged balsamic vinegar is made in Modena, Italy and is one of We Olive’s best-selling items. Ken’s enthusiasm is contagious and we are excited to taste some more.
We move on to mix the delicious balsamic vinegar with a Lemon olive oil. The flavors blend with Mediterranean flair. The scent is divine. The taste is even better. Ken suggests various ways to use or cook with this delicious blend and we imagine a Greek Salad with tomatoes, Kalamata olives, garlic, and feta cheese tossed with the Lemon olive oil with just a drizzle of balsamic. With each combination Ken introduces, his passion grows. “Now try this!” is a repetitive demand that we don’t seem to mind as the flavors dance in our mouths.
The excitement that Ken exudes makes for a fun adventure. Following his lead and not wanting to cause any disappointment to our gracious host, we try one olive oil and vinegar combination after another. Before we know it, we’ve tasted almost everything in the store! Until we spot something dark and mysterious sitting atop the counter. Could it be brownies? Yes! But, we wonder, how do brownies fit into the category of olive oil and vinegar? Spotting our wandering eyes, Ken offers the plate of brownies for us to try. After one bite, we realize this is no ordinary brownie. Ken explains that Blood Orange Olive Oil is used to infuse this treat, giving them an element of surprise. Simply moist and delicious, we find out that baking with olive oil is a healthier alternative to butter and other oils. Note to self: Buy Blood Orange Olive Oil and pick up brownie mix on the way home.
Not All Tasting Bars Are Created Equal. We Olive is dedicated to informing the consumer about California Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The We Olive franchise was one of the first stores with the “wine bar” concept, except the only thing on tap is “extra virgin”. They only sell olive oil that is produced in California and is certified as extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC). This simple fact will ensure that the olive oil you purchase from We Olive is an authentic extra virgin olive oil that is produced by local growers in California.
We Olive in Folsom is a family run operation. Ken, his wife Joan, and son Jacob are all very helpful and extremely knowledgeable. They know firsthand who the producers are, what olive varietals they press, and if they have won any medals of recognition. They engage in lively conversation, encourage you to ask questions, and are happy to help educate you.
The We Olive philosophy of “try before you buy” will ensure you will go home with olive oils and vinegars you love. Their store is also filled with wonderful mustards, spices, syrups, sauces, and gift items. You can’t help but be inspired to whip up something new in the kitchen, especially after you taste the orange flavored brownies! The environment is warm and inviting and filled with customer interaction and laughter, making your shopping experience more personable than a typical grocer. You will feel like you are part of the family and will want to return to see what’s new, which producers won awards, try Olio Nuovo (new oil) fresh from the presses, and refill your bottles with the latest harvest of olive oils. You have a choice to bottle your favorite oils from the We Olive bulk fustis or purchase bottles from a wide selection of top California olive oil producers. This is truly one stop shopping for your olive oil needs.
We Olive Folsom is filled with California’s best extra virgin olive oils. Unlike the shelves lined at the grocery store, you will not have to second guess if the olive oil you are buying is the real deal. Just like a fine wine, the olive oil you choose is a personal preference based on what pleases your palate. Visit We Olive Folsom and let Ken, Joan, and Jacob help you choose the best olive oils that California has to offer. Not near Folsom? Be sure to visit the We Olive Folsom website to find a location in California near you!
Photographs taken by The Grove and Co. at We Olive in Folsom, CA.