The Olive Oil Boom, a new store specializing in oils and vinegars, recently opened in Courthouse.
Located at 2016 Wilson Blvd, the store offers a variety of balsamic vinegars, olive oils and red wine vinegars, which customers can taste before purchasing. It aims to help Arlington residents lead healthy lifestyles by switching butter with olive oil, said owner Judith Westfall.
Various varieties of specialty olive oils from around the world, including oils infused with spices or fused with citrus flavors, line the walls while the balsamic vinegars and traditional olive oils sit on two center tables. Customers can also peruse through Westfall’s homemade recipe books for different savory or sweet recipes that use olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The store provides free copies of the recipes for shoppers to take home.
The idea is to create a community store, where Arlington residents can gather and share different recipes while chatting with each other, Westfall said.
“It’s become really popular. We have a lot of fun talking to people and suggesting things,” Westfall said.
Customers have already shared their ideas with her, she said. One customer recommended that she use the aged pure Vermont maple balsamic on bacon and bake it in the oven, a recipe Westfall plans to try.
The store has been open for approximately three weeks, Westfall said, and she is already seeing customers return. One of her goals with the store is to help educate about the healthy uses of olive oil, which fits with the health-conscious population of Arlington, she said.
So far popular flavors include the Tuscan herb olive oil and traditional balsamic vinegar, but Westfall has also noticed that Arlington residents like the spice-infused olive oils, include the chipotle and fused Baklouti green chili flavors. She plans to also add cayenne pepper-infused and harissa-infused flavors “because it’s all about what the community really likes,” Westfall said.
Westfall and her husband, Lynn, also experiment with different flavors in order to create new ones, she said. “So we have fun coming up with new combinations, new pairings.”
For those new to using olive oil, Westfall recommends starting with the basic extra virgin olive oil flavors, rather than the more exotic infusions. Westfall suggests customers replace butter or canola oil with butter-flavored olive oil.
“Any time you can substitute olive oil for canola oil or butter or anything of that matter you are adding antioxidants to your diet,” she said. “And it tastes so much better. Once you’ve tasted a good olive oil and used it, I don’t think you want to go back to your other oils.”
In addition to its core products, The Olive Oil Boom — the name reflects Westfall’s former career in the petroleum industry in Texas — also offers wine, cheeses, breads and various gourmet items.
It may seem pretty specialized, but The Olive Oil Boom isn’t the only retailer in Arlington with a primary focus on olive oils and vinegars. Ah Love Oil & Vinegar, in Shirlington Village, is celebrating its fourth anniversary this weekend.