Jordan Acton owns The Main Olive, a gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting room in downtown Oxford, with her husband. The Main Olive is located at 508 Main St. and is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays.
What makes the oils and vinegars you sell different from the ones at a grocery store?
We have three extra-virgin, ultra-pure olive oils which are held to the European standard. In the United States, we do not really have an olive oil standard, which is why some of it is subpar. We keep our oils and vinegars in stainless steel containers called “fustis.” Light and air break down olive oils, so the fustis keep them fresher. Our olive oils are all first-pressed and cold-pressed. Our olives are hand-plucked from the tree, so they are not bruised and not sitting around for a while. Our flavored olive oils are Spanish olive oils, so everything is done in Spain. The vinegars are all grape-based and aged in a cask for 18 years, similar to wine. We have different flavors of vinegar, but they all start with the 18-year aged balsamic.
Do you have a favorite flavor of olive oil?
Our customer favorite flavor is the Tuscan herb olive oil; it has garlic, oregano and sundried tomatoes, so it is good for everything like salad dressings, tossing pasta and roasting vegetables. My personal favorite is the blood orange olive oil; we use that in brownies, chicken, fish and as a salad dressing.
How much blood orange olive oil do you add to your brownie recipe?
I use the blood orange olive oil for half the amount of oil required. (For example, if the recipe calls for two tablespoons of oil, use one tablespoon of regular oil and one tablespoon of the blood orange olive oil.)
Do you have a favorite flavor of balsamic vinegar?
My favorite balsamic vinegar is the black cherry, because it has a tremendous cherry flavor. We use it as a salad dressing, put it on ice cream and use it as a meat marinade.
What is the most unique flavor you sell?
The most exciting flavor we have — a 50-50 love-hate relationship with customers — is the black truffle oil. It is a little more fancy and has a really earthy taste.
Are any of your oils and vinegars vegan-friendly?
Yes, all of our oils and vinegars are vegan-friendly and gluten-friendly. We have a surprisingly large vegan community in the area, and they especially love our butter-flavor olive oil.
What other items do you sell?
We have cheese from Wright Dairy, local honey, Maw Maw’s Marinara and Dak’s seasonings. The bread we use for tastings is from Artisanal Baked Goods in Anniston. We have several different salsas, jellies and relishes. Our most popular jam is the F.R.O.G. jam: fig, raspberry, orange and ginger. We have flavored pastas we order from Texas. We also sell Spanish olives: lemon-stuffed, orange-stuffed, green chilies, almond and a cocktail mix.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.