A Taste of Things to Come
When The True Olive Connection opened up in Downtown Santa Cruz in November 2010 with a fine collection of olive oils from all over the world, the store was an instant hit. It filled a niche for shoppers and tourists – providing a place to taste gourmet olive oil in a beautiful setting.
Olive oil has been a staple of Mediterranean and other cuisines for hundreds of years, but is now showing up in pantries across the United States. As people become more health conscious, the days of cooking in unhealthy fats are dwindling.
Owners Susan and Michael Pappas, and Guillermo and Mona Silva, find going to their store a pleasure. They help customers choose the right olive oil for them – either for their own consumption or as a gift – and enjoy introducing the oils of different countries. They are all thrilled to be in this year’s Home, Garden, Culinary & Wine Expo for the first time.
“We’re excited to a part of the Home & Garden Expo,” says Susan Pappas. “And this is the first year that they’re doing culinary and wine, so we’re expecting a large crowd,” she adds. “There will be a lot of business opportunity and a lot of exposure.
“We’re doing olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and then we also have a chef, Andrea Mollenauer, coming at 12:30 p.m. on both days from Lifestyle Culinary on Front Street. There are three independent chefs that own that space,” Pappas adds, “Riverview Farms Catering and Local Harvest Catering.”
“What we’re going to be showcasing for tasting is our freshest southern hemisphere products from our store, Spanish, Argentine, Australian and California olive oils,” Pappas says. “We have over 30 olive oils and over 20 aged balsamic vinegars in our store for people to try. And we always get our bread from Gayle’s Bakery because we want people to enjoy the olive oil experience.
“It’s the oleic acid and polyphenols that make olive oil so healthy,” Pappas continues.”And one of the things that’s key to us is that our distributor is Veronica Foods Company.” They were just named one of the best olive oil importers in the world. There’s a lot of adulteration out there, but our oils are pure.”
The True Olive Connection also sells paraben-free skin products by Olivella of Italy – all made with a special virgin olive oil formula. And a wonderful array of Gils Gourmet olives, mustards and tapenades will also be showcased in their booth. Private olive oil tasting parties are regularly held in their store, and information on that will also be available in their booth.
Supporting the community for various events is important for the owners of the True Olive Connection. “We’re always glad to do things with charities as far as giving donations,” says Pappas.
The True Olive Connection, 106 Lincoln St., Santa Cruz, 458-OILS (6457). www.trueoliveconnection.com.