Secret Sauce: Island Olive Oil
Since the early 1900s, farmers have attempted to grow olives in Hawai‘i for commercial production, but with limited success. In fact, olive trees once bore fruit in the elevated terrain on west Hawai‘i Island, but failed to take hold in Oahu’s south shore valleys. Nevertheless, we’ve all come to love the product. A modern household staple, largely due to the health benefits associated with the sublime oil—high in polyphenols, it’s thought to be protective against heart disease, type II diabetes, and may even help lower cholesterol. But for some of us, our thirst and understanding of the age-old oil runs even deeper.
Enter Angél and Brian Foster, owners of Island Olive Oil. The duo are inspiringly infatuated with high quality olive oil and are doing everything they can to make sure you can taste the difference. Located in Ward Centre, Island Olive Oil has been known for its ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils—sourced from Italy, Spain, Australia, and California—and balsamic vinegars, since 2012. To ensure that only the highest quality products enter their front doors, the Fosters only source the freshest, most tasteful imports. On the bottle you’ll see the harvest date, the country of origin, and the oil’s chemistry. The Fosters even rotate sourcing their olive oils from the northern and southern hemispheres, depending on the season, to ensure quality and freshness.
Beyond sampling their wealth of extra virgin olive oils and specialty oils on hand, Island Olive Oil partners with Chef Alan Wong and the Kapi‘olani Community College Culinary Arts Program to offer in store cooking demos. Interactive and fun, the demos allow you to broaden your perspective and rethink the roles that a high-quality olive oil can have in your kitchen. The program also supports, Hawai‘i’s future chefs. You’ll also be able to share recipes and cooking tips, including using olive oil in vegetarian and Keto diets, with other savvy shoppers and chefs.
For home cooks, Island Olive Oil now carries a variety of gourmet products sourced locally and from around the world, allowing you new ways to spice up any meal. Beyond olive oil, the Fosters have also made it their mission to bring in hard-to-find and healthy specialty foods to buff out your pantry. Truffles are trending in store, and you’ll find an array of the umami flavored oil, salt, honey, and tapenade imported from Italy. Don’t forget to check out the pickled olives from Spain or the gourmet pasta sauces either!
For those of you with a sweet tooth, you’ll delight in locally sourced chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, liliko‘i butter, and pineapple papaya spread. You can also flavor your homemade baked goods with very special North Shore O‘ahu grown and ground vanilla beans. And when you’re done cooking, clean it all up with Hawaiiana-print flour sack towels. Your meals, and your kitchen, will be a reflection of the international diversity of the Hawaiian Islands. Who knew that your friendly neighborhood olive oil store could be the gateway to a new gourmet approach to cooking?