Spice Up Your Meals
All about artisan oils and vinegars.
Photograph: Judy Ostrow
“Fairfield has lots of foodies, and people interested in healthy eating,” says Jeff Love, who with business partner Jeff Stein opened their gourmet oil and vinegar emporium, Dash N Drizzle, in June of last year. Attracted to the idea by a shop that Stein had seen in Denver, the two Jeffs decided to make a business that capitalizes on the growing interest in artisanal quality food products. The main ingredient in the Dash ‘N Drizzle inventory is an international selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars, so we asked Love to tell us more about these products — and what makes them special.
Why oil and vinegar?
First of all, olive oil and balsamic vinegar are both fantastic ways to enhance all kinds of food, and second, they’re great for people concerned about health as well as taste. Olive oil has zero cholesterol, and balsamic vinegar gives you a lot of flavor for very few calories. And in our shop, you can taste the varieties that interest you, before you buy.
Tell us about the oils.
Most people know about extra virgin olive oil from Italy, but olives are harvested for their oil all over the world and our inventory represents this diversity. Oils from the Southern Hemisphere—Chile, Argentina, Australia, and other countries—are harvested in July and August. Oils from the Northern Hemisphere—Mediterranean countries and elsewhere—are harvested in November and December.
What distinguishes one oil from another?
The oils we sell are special because most are made in very small batches with a single cultivar—type of olive—in the crushing process. Each oil draws its flavors not only from the fruit, but from what’s called the terroir, a word that means the special characteristics of an area’s climate, geography and geology and their interaction with the plants. What’s in the soil, how much sun and rain, everything affects the flavor of the final product. Our customers enjoy tasting the various oils and recognizing their different characteristics.
Other than having different geographical sources, do you stock other varieties of olive oil?
Some of our olive oils are infused with herbs or fruit, which make them a flavorful addition to many dishes: finishing a platter of asparagus, topping for bruschetta, or just for dipping slices of artisanal bread.
And balsamic vinegars? Aren’t they all the same?
Not at all. The traditional balsamic vinegars must be aged a minimum of 10 years. Many are aged much longer. We also have balsamics infused with different flavors. So there are dozens of varieties. And people get very creative once they taste a variety of flavors.
What are your most popular types of oil and vinegar?
People love the fig-infused balsamic; they tell us it makes a great dressing on its own. For olive oils, the oil made from Greek Koroneiki olives seems to have a big following.
Tell us about more food pairings.
Making a balsamic reduction for fish, chicken or pork, seems to be one big way to use our vinegars. And you can get really creative, combining sweet and tart flavors: a basil-infused olive oil with strawberry balsamic vinegar, or Meyer lemon-infused olive oil with raspberry balsamic. The combinations are almost endless.
Do you stock any other products?
We’ve got a selection of international salts; we also carry a maple syrup that’s aged in bourbon barrels; we like to offer our customers unique gourmet items.
Where are you located in Fairfield?
We’ve just moved the shop from Unquowa Road; you’ll find Dash ‘N Drizzle in the Brick Walk complex, number 1215 next to Zane’s.
Dash N Drizzle
1215 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824