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Pour Olive: Steady does it 

A new shop offers upscale olive oils and vinegars

Why choose a high-quality artisan extra virgin olive oil over a mass-produced brand? Well, that's kind of like asking why you would choose a Porsche over a Pinto. It's all about the quality.

Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar are traditionally thought of as cooking ingredients and flavor enhancers, when, in fact, they are so much more. Pour Olive owners Doug and Sophia Jones set out to change the way Charlotteans think about these two products when they renovated the store's 1,100-square-foot space in Dilworth. They have created an artisan shop with a modern loft feel.

Pour Olive carries more than 40 different varieties of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, plus customizable hostess gifts, gourmet condiments, olive varietals and a house-made dirty martini mix.

Whether you are a novice gourmand or an expert chef, there is something for everyone at the local artisan shop.

Suggested Cooking Uses
Olive oils and vinegars can be star ingredients in your cooking. While vinegars add brightness and sweetness to dishes, oils add richness and savory flavor. Put them together in the following recipes and you'll be in taste heaven.

Sweet and Tangy Blackberry and Lemon Vinaigrette: Mix 1/3 cup Lemon-Infused Extra Virgin Olive oil with 2 tablespoons Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar.

Summer Basil and Strawberry Vinaigrette: Mix 1/3 cup Basil-Infused Extra Virgin Olive oil with 2 tablespoons Strawberry Au Natural Balsamic Vinaigrette .

French Garden Herb and Lavender Vinaigrette: Mix 1/3 cup Herbs Provence Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 2 tablespoons Lavender Balsamic Vinegar.

The highest quality balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oils have the power to stand on their own. Rather than mask their flavor with 10 other ingredients, let their true flavor shine in these recipes that taste gourmet, but are deceptively simple.

Dark Chocolate Balsamic Ice Cream Topper: Bring 1 cup of Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir frequently while continuing to cook the vinegar. Cook until vinegar has reduced by half. Remove from heat and cool. Pour over strawberry or vanilla ice cream or enjoy over fresh berries and whipped cream.

Spicy Olive Oil Spread: Pour 1/2 cup of your favorite Pour Olive's extra virgin olive oil in a small ramekin or bowl. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill for at least one hour (olive oil will become solid, similar to butter) Remove from refrigerator and allow to soften for five minutes. Spread onto sliced crusty baguettes as an appetizer.

Alternative Uses
You might be surprised to learn that extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar have many uses outside of cooking.

All Natural Body Scrub: Mix 3:1 parts extra virgin olive oil (any mild pungency oil) to coarse salt for a body treatment free of harsh chemicals and perfumes.

Luxurious Bath Oil: Dilute 3 tablespoons of Blood Orange Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil in warm bath water for a luxurious skin treatment with a refreshing scent.

Rejuvenating Oil for Pots and Pans: Apply 1-2 tablespoons of Lemon-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a cloth and use to polish pots and pans that have lost their luster.

For people who prefer their olives in martini form, the Joneses make and bottle their own dirty martini mix, which they have cheekily named "Loud Mouth Soup." And these two definitely did their research, sampling many different brands of mixes before developing their own. "You know what I got out of the other brands? They were almost a little bit tangy, where ours is just smooth," Doug says. The simple ingredient mix (water, vinegar, salt, all natural olive brine) retails at $9 for a 750 ml container.

Pour Olive is located at 1528 East Blvd. Contact them at 980-207-1510.

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