Who knew that olive oil had a place in Hawaii? Island Olive Oil Co. opened its first boutique at Ward Centers in 2012, gaining such a following that a second locale popped up in Waikiki less than a year later.

The specialty olive oil shop is definitely a new concept for Hawaii; a first-of-its-kind to hit the local market, which explains why it took some getting used to sampling the Mediterranean favorite from little plastic cups at the shop. Much like with wineries, the company offers tastings of this Mediterranean favorite from all over the world.

I learned that olive oil and wine have a lot in common, too. Both depend heavily on seasons, locale and harvest. But, unlike wine, olive oils do not get better with age (unless it’s balsamic vinegar). What we want is the fresh stuff! And at Island Olive Oil, each bottle goes through a thorough certification process to qualify as “extra virgin,” which comes from only the purest of sources.

To be honest, I’m so used to just buying whatever’s on sale at the grocery store that I never realized there could be so many varieties of this stuff. Island Olive Oil had some pretty creative flavors, too, from cayenne chili olive oil to one flavored with a wild mushroom and sage. Their selection of balsamic vinegars are even more wild and include espresso, grapefruit white and dark chocolate!?

The local boutique sells gift packs to make it easier for visitors to bring back home as souvenirs. Otherwise, pretty much everything is available on their website.

ISLAND OLIVE OIL

• Ward Center, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814 • Opens Mon-Sat 10am-9pm and Sun 10am-6pm • www.islandoliveoil.com • 808-388-8912

ISLAND OLIVE OIL

• Royal Hawaiian Center, 2201 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815 • 808-922-0588

Photo Courtesy: @IslandOliveOil Twitter

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