While my wife and I were in downtown Knoxville this past Saturday for the Market Square Art Fair, we made a short side trip to The Tree and Vine. The Tree and Vine is an olive oil and balsamic tasting shop just down Union Avenue from Market Square. Not being a fan of balsamic vinegar and having only used “plain” extra virgin olive oil, I was surprised at the number of infused oils and balsamics available to sample and purchase.
We were invited, even encouraged, to try all of the different olive oils and balsamic vinegars and to even try a combination of a couple. For example, we sampled a combination of their chipotle infused olive oil and blueberry infused aged balsamic. Separately, these two are very good, but combined you get an amazing mixture of heat and sweet. Perfect for a marinade or topping. They also had a sample of brownies (store bought mix) made with their blood orange fused olive oil instead of regular oil. A simple recipe replacement with a completely different result.
As I learned how the different oils and balsamics could be used or combined to enhance the flavors of any food, my biggest treat came with the lemon infused white balsamic. I’m somewhat of a simple kind of guy, so vanilla ice cream has almost always been topped with chocolate syrup. Well, not any more. I have now discovered the absolutely delicious addition of lemon infused white balsamic vinegar to vanilla ice cream. I guess I’m finally growing up.
So, if you are ever in the area, I encourage you to stop by The Tree and Vine at 439 Union Avenue, just off Market Square, in downtown Knoxville.