Olive Crazy: All About Olives and Olive Oil
May 032012

I have been positively olive green with envy as gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bars and shops open their doors around the US. Why? Because none of them were in or near Atlanta. Atlanta is one of the biggest, most densely-populated, food-conscious metropolitan areas in the United States. What’s wrong, I thought?

Do folks think we don’t like excellent quality extra virgin olive oil? We do. Do they think we don’t use olive oil? We do. Do they think we’re still feeling a bit tender about the War of Northern Aggression? Well…, despite all that, we do love olive oil and even traded in our Confederate money for some US coin, and can afford to buy it too. Atlanta is sitting smack-dab in the middle of the most-coveted, most-untapped world olive oil market, the east coast of the US. I have been mystified, until now…

There’s a new extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar and gourmet food shop in metro Atlanta. It’s the Branch & Vine in Newnan, Georgia. This discovery, thanks to my friend, Pam N., called for a field trip. So last Tuesday, I gassed up the ole Caddy and headed down I-85 toward Alabama.

Pam had already been to Branch & Vine the weekend before and was excited to show me around. She didn’t need to because as soon as we entered a lovely, young woman named Jasmine greeted us. In true Southern form Pam, Jasmine, and I started all talking at once and with a high level of excitement. One of the owners, Tracey Jenkins, was there, helping another customer with her purchase. As soon as she was done she came over and joined the fun.

Jasmine and Tracey explained all about the different extra virgin olive oils Branch & Vine had to offer, each prettily sitting in it’s own steel container know as a fusti (I sense another Olive Crazy article in the future all about fustis). We discussed the array of flavored and infused oils. I told them about my trip to Oliviers & Co., my flavored oils taste test, and my article about flavored vs. infused oils.

I asked Tracey who her supplier was and then held my breath. “Veronica Foods,” she said. “Yay, the Bradleys,” I said, relieved and breathing again. I now knew I could purchase the oils I wanted for my next taste-test article and promptly purchased one each of all the infused extra virgins.

My purchases made and a list of future Olive Crazy article topics stored in my head, Pam and I tackled the balsamic vinegars. Oh my goodness! I was in heaven. I tried the Chocolate vinegar, the Espresso vinegar, the Grapefruit vinegar, and many more. Then Tracey brought out a tray of vanilla ice cream and suggested we try either a vinegar or olive oil on it. I chose Red Apple vinegar. Wow! Thanks Tracey.

It was time to move on. I promised Tracey I would email the links to the articles I would write. Pam and I left contact information, and much satisfied with our visit, went to dinner.

If you are in the Atlanta area either call the store at 770-253-3008 for directions or follow this handy Olive Crazy-enhanced map of it’s location. The Branch & Vine is on a zip code line that messes up the ability to find it using mapping programs. Bummer.

May the sun shine through your branches.


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