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Posted on April 1, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments ()


Looking for a Hostess gift for Easter or maybe a little something for that adult Easter basket? We have a lot of great gift items to choose from for a hostess gift plus our 60 ml mini bottles would fit nicely in an Easter basket.

Or, still trying to decide on your Easter dinner menu...check out some great recipes below!

Feta Cheese Appetizer 

1 block of Macedonian Feta - (or any cow's milk, sheep's milk or goat's milk Feta) as much as you feel like you can eat in one go!

Handful of fresh chopped herbs - Oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary

1 Red Chili Chopped and diced

zest of 1/2 lemon

Cracked pepper 

LeClaire Olive Oil Co.'s Ultra Premium Olive Oil (I prefer a Medium or Robust Intensity Olive Oil) or Fused/Infused Olive Oil (such as: Milanese Gremolata, Garlic, Tuscan Herb, Herbs de Provence, Eureka or Meyer Lemon Olive Oil) 

Arrange feta on a small platter or dinner plate, sprinkle herbs, chili, lemon zest and pepper and drizzle with loads of olive oil. Serve with warm crusty bread. 

Green Beans with Lemon Vinaigrette 

1/2 cup LeClaire Olive Oil Co.'s Meyer Lemon, Milanese Gremolata or Garlic Olive Oil

1 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 

Kosher salt and pepper 

2 lb thin green beans, trimmed 

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp. salt, then the green beans, and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer the green beans to the ice water to cool; drain and set aside. Toss the beans gently in the lemon vinaigrette. 

Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes 

3 lb. red potatoes, cut in half or quartered depending on size 

3 cups chicken broth 

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 

1/3 cup LeClaire Olive Oil Co.s olive oil (Ultra Premium, Garlic, Meyer Lemon, Herbs de Provence, Milanese Gremolata, Tuscan Herb or Wild Fernleaf Dill) 

3 tsp. dried oregano 

1 tsp. black pepper 

4 tsp. minced garlic 

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 

Preheat oven to 450F. Place cubed potatoes in 9 x 13 pan (foil pan recommended). Mix together chicken broth, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, pepper and garlic. Pour over potatoes. Bake uncovered for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours stirring every 20 minutes as they bake. Add more liquid if needed. Liquid will evaporate the final 20 minutes or so. Be sure to stir so they do not burn. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Herbed Roasted Leg of Lamb

1 leg of young lamb, about 5 to 6 pounds 

8 cloves garlic (2 cloves sliced into 8 pieces and 6 cloves minced) 

3 Tbsp. dried rosemary 

1 1/2 tsp. salt 

1 1/2 tsp. pepper 

3/4 cups LeClaire Olive Oil Co.'s Milanese Gremolata Olive Oil, divided 

Ask the butcher to remove as much fat as he can from the lamb and to remove the skin. With a sharp knife, cut about 8 slits into the lamb and into each slit, put a thin slice of garlic. Put the minced garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in the bowl of a small processor to grind the ingredients. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the olive oil, a tablespoon at a time, to make a thick but spreadable paste. This can also be done with a mortar and pestle. Spread the paste all over the lamb, rub in the paste well, cover the lamb, and refrigerate overnight or at room temperature for several hours. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before roasting. Preheat the oven to 375F. and roast the lamb for 1 hour (rare) to 1 1/2 hours (less rare). Baste with remaining olive oil 3 or 4 times during roasting. when the lamb is done, let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.  

Fresh Lemon Tart 


1/4 LeClaire Olive Oil Co.'s Arbosana or Butter olive oil 

2 cups all-purpose flour, divided 

2 tablespoons sugar 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

3/4 cup milk 

1 teaspoon vanilla 


2 large eggs 

3 large eggs whites 

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 

3 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest 

Whipped cream 

Position rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 375F. To make the crust: In a bowl, mix oil and 1/4 cup flour until smooth. Add remaining flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, mix the ingredients together until crumbly. With a fork, stir in the vanilla and milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a soft dough forms. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead. Press into disk. Spray a 10-inch tart pan with nonstick spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12-inch circle. Fold dough in quarters. Carefully place dough in the prepared pan, unfold and press to fit. Trim the edges of excess dough. Cover the crust with foil and weight with pie weights or 1/2 cup dry beans. Place tart on a baking sheet. To make filling: In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, egg whites and sugar until smooth. Slowly whisk in lemon juice and zest. Pour filling into partially baked crust. Bake tart about 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is set. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Makes 12 servings.



Posted on January 10, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments ()

Monday, January 5, 2015

EMPANADAS (Recipe courtesy of Veronica Foods, Inc.)

Olive Oil Pastry

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup LeClaire Olive Oil Co.'s UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 to 4 tablespoons water

Empanada Filling

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 large yellow onion, finely minced

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons LeClaire Olive Oil Co.' UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or infused Olive Oil made with UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 jar Delizia Roasted Red Peppers in UP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, drained and coarsely chopped (sold at LeClaire Olive Oil Co.)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 /2 cup shredded Asiago cheese

Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

1 egg beaten


To make the filling, heat olive oil of choice in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground meat of your choice. Saute until well browned. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the roasted peppers, garlic, oregano and cook for another few minutes until most of the moisture in the mixture has evaporated. Add the cheese, mix well, taste and season with salt and pepper, and then set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix the UP extra virgin olive oil and water together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well until a dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out to 1/8" thickness and then using a round glass or a large circular cutter (4"-5" diameter would be perfect), cut out rounds of dough. Fill each with 2 tablespoons of cooled filling, brush one half of the inner edge of the circle and then pinch firmly closed to form a half moon shaped empanada. Use the tines of a fork to make a decorative edge and help seal the empanadas.

Arrange on a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes until each empanada is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm. Can be frozen and reheated with excellent results.

Makes approximately 1 dozen empanadas

New UP Certified White Balsamic "Denissimo" Condimento of Modena

Posted on January 10, 2015 at 12:20 AM Comments comments ()


Announcing UP Certified White Balsamic “Denissimo” Condimento of Modena

In our constant pursuit to raise the bar, we’re proud to announce our new Infused White Balsamic products made with the highest quality Ultra Premium White Balsamic Condimento in the world. As a result of many years of collaboration, our new White Balsamic Condimento is denser, richer, smoother, more complex, and naturally thicker than any white “balsamic-like” products found in North America. These attributes come from the artisan process of sun drying the grapes in Modena, Italy to concentrate flavor and must as well as adding the smallest percentage (less than 10%) barrel aged Italian white wine vinegar than any other white balsamic on the market. Unlike most other knock-off products that rely on adding sugar from other sources or thickeners, our product relies strictly on natural artisan production methods to produce the finest Ultra Premium White Balsamic

•The highest quality white balsamic condimento in the world, it is unique in North America and exclusively made for, and found through Veronica Foods as a result of many years of project collaboration with our partner in Modena.

•Certified to be made exclusively from Italian Trebbiano, Albana, and Montuni grapes which add body and richness that Trebbiano grapes alone cannot achieve.

•Certified to be hand pick by experienced workers who select only the sweetest clusters for maximum Brix (sugar) content.

•Obtained by natural fermentation as a result of blending white grape must with less than 10% Italian Barrel Aged White Wine Vinegar both made from Albana, Trebbiano and Montuni grapes which grow in the region of Modena, Italy exclusively.

•After being hand-picked, the specially selected grapes are left to dry in the sun (a very old artisan method) for another 10 to 15 days. This is an exclusive family practice of our balsamic maker, and is only done for the UP White “Denisssimo” Condimento. During this period, the natural sugar, flavor, and body in the grapes is enhanced. This proprietary drying period results in an approximate volume loss of 10% through evaporation.

•The traditionally cooked grape must is then lightly filtered to remove any skins from is then placed into new white oak barrels for maturation and aging to an amazing 1.28 density with 4% acidity.

•Certified to be made in Modena, and to be free from any additives including thickening agents, sugar from sources other than grape must, colors, dyes, and preservatives.

•This is a healthful “living product” not heat pasteurized to destroy the healthful pro-biotics associated with consuming artisan fermented vinegar


Opening Week!

Posted on October 21, 2014 at 12:55 AM Comments comments ()

Well we are now into our second full week and so far we are getting a great response. Thanks to everyone who has visited our store since our opening. We always enjoy meeting new people and finding out where they are from.

We are hoping to have most of our website completed by the end of this week and our shopping cart up and running. Recipes will take a little longer to be added. We will have a bunch of new recipes in the store this weekend Saturday, October 25th, just in time for the Witches Walk.



Quality in Traditional Style Balsamic Vinegar

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM Comments comments ()

People often ask the difference between store bought balsamic vinegar and ours. Please read this great post from our distributor.


Our Traditional Style Condimento contains less than 5% high quality, barrel aged red wine vinegar from Modena which is added to inoculate the must with pro-biotic (acetic bacteria). The rest of the volume is wholly comprised of cooked Trebbiano grape must. The must is made from grapes cultivated in the region of Modena, which are crushed and cooked in the ancient “Traditional Style” in copper kettles, within the region of Modena, Italy. 

Cooking in copper kettles to caramelize the grape sugar is more than just a quaint or romantic production step. Cooking down the grape must in copper is a rare production step which makes a monumental difference in terms of the quality and authenticity of the end product. Today most producers in Italy have opted for the vastly more efficient and modern method of condensing grape juice into a concentrate utilizing the relatively new process of vacuum evaporation. The use of this technology also typically necessitates the addition of up to 2% caramel color/dye to be added to the otherwise pale, anemic white grape must in order to add a deep, rich, mahogany-brown color. This practice was recently sanctioned by Italian law to allow producers to give the end consumer a false impression that the grape must was in fact cooked and caramelized in the "Traditional Style" in copper kettles. 

However, it it not legal in Italy or North America, or most other countries to add artificial color or any other ingredients to a product and not disclose them on the ingredient statement. Despite this, many retail products labeled as balsamic do contain artificial color, thickeners, and types of refined sugar which are not disclosed on the product's ingredient statement. Our Traditional Style Condimento and all of our infused dark balsamics which are made with it are certified on Third Party Certificate of Analysis to contain no caramel color, thickeners, or forms of refined sugar. It is conservatively estimated that upwards of 95% of all retail products labeled as "balsamic" do contain caramel color despite non-disclosure of it and other extraneous ingredients on the ingredient statement. If there is no traceability and guarantee via lab analysis otherwise, it is wise to be dubious. With no domestic industry in North America to protect, there is little to no interest in regulation of this product category by government. And with the most proficient third party labs that test for fraud being in Italy, adulteration is rampant in this product category. Even when the product is tested in proficient labs, it is incredibly difficult to test for caramel color as it's typically added in less than 2% by volume and requires very specific testing methods to identify it.  


In relation to the artisan method which is used to produce it, our Condimento is lab certified to have an extraordinarily high minimum relative density of 1.28+ - the highest minimum measured density on file for any standard. It is measured by a third party lab in Italy and carries traceability through each batches certificate of analysis. We are extremely proud that our Condimento contains on average, a whopping 749+ grams of dried extract solids per liter - a lab measurement which speaks to the extreme loss of moisture through natural evaporation which occurs in the cooking process and also while it ages in five types of wood barrels over time. The higher the amount of dried extract solids, the more complex a balsamic will be, as we are talking about the concentration of grape solids including grape sugar, which impart flavor and make for a thicker, naturally sweeter, and more complex balsamic.

We like to use these very exact and meaningful measurements and means of certification conducted by third party labs to detail quality as opposed to the often misleading, competing, and confusing Italian based categories and trade association standards such as the Leaf System, Star System, PGI, etc., And we urge you to do the same. In most cases these categories are ambiguous, romantic and hollow when drilled into. The common theme most share is that they place high value on the fact that Balsamic must be certified to come from specific regions, yet offer little to no measurable scientific, or production standards beyond geographic location. They don’t speak to the nuts and bolts of what really constitutes quality in balsamic such as density, dried extract solids, process, fruit maturity and quality, must percentage, barrel system, etc.. 

"But what about age?", you say. Age claims are strictly illegal in Italy. Only here in North America do you see rampant, unqualified, and totally bogus age claims being made which would be prohibited if the product were being sold in the more regulated market of Italy. 

With decades worth of experience driving our own balsamic standard ever upward, we are currently in the process of creating the first measurable chemical/production standard for balsamic in North which will use good science and meaningful criteria as opposed to superfluous romance which currently places all emphasis on the idea that place dominates. It will be akin to the difference between saying I have Italian extra virgin vs. saying "here's my Fusti tag with all of the pertinent chemical parameters as detailed by my third party laboratory analysis ALONG with full traceability in terms of production method and lastly, origin certification.  


Posted by Rachel Bradley-Gomez at 11:44 AM