Confession: I have been driving myself CRAZY looking for (affordable) compliant vanilla extract for a month now. Every store I visit, every time I’m on Amazon, I search and search and come back disappointed. It’s easy to find compliant coco powder – we bought some on our first Whole30 shopping trip and haven’t touched it since. But I miss the flavor of vanilla and have been looking so I can change things up a little in my everyday diet. Fruit is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I feel like it is a little one-dimensional. And sometimes I crave a little flavor in my water or tea. But I sure as heck don’t want alcohol or any artificial sweeteners back in my life. My problems were solved when I found The Olive Bar in Campbell, CA.
I feel more than a bit silly when I discovered The Olive bar because I go to Campbell farmer’s market nearly every week and have raved about their compliant bacon and spices. But somehow I had passed by this gem more than a dozen times. If you recall my review/recommendation of Marisolio Tasting Bar, The Olive Bar will look and sound familiar. As I was chatting with the lovely shop attendant, she informed me that that owner of Marisolio actually mentored the owner of The Olive Bar and helped him start his business! The layout was similar, but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of different products.
The one item that really stood out to me and became an immediate purchase was the 18 year aged Vanilla Balsamic Condimento. The second I tasted it, I knew I was buying a bottle. It was everything I had been searching for flavor-wise without any of the added junk other companies seem to think vanilla needs. Tart yet sweet, with the musky fullness of authentic vanilla bean that always seems to be absent in fake vanilla products that taste like body spray. The day after purchase, I drizzled it over some strawberries and almost cried. It was heavenly. I’ve also tried a few drops in water, just enough for a hint of flavor – not enough to make you think you’re drinking marinade. The authenticity and purity of this product is awesome, and the best possible alternative to commercially-available alcoholic vanilla out there.
My husband fell in love with the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil. He liked the version at Marisolio, but The Olive Bar’s brand blew his socks off. He claimed it as his must-have purchase right away, which was surprising because he is a huge blueberry fanatic and their Wild Blueberry Balsamic was pretty amazing. We also purchased a package of coconut sugar, which I will review once our Whole30 is over and we decide to try it out.