• Business name: Vancouver Olive Oil Company
  • Owner: Michaelanne Buckley
  • Address: 2571 West Broadway Avenue  
  • Products: High-quality extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, plus a tasting bar

Michaelanne Buckley experienced one of Oprah’s “aha” moments last summer when she found Liquid Gold, a store in Nova Scotia that lets customers try the high-quality olive oils and vinegars it sells before they buy.

“After tasting two balsamic vinegars I was completely sold – I couldn’t believe the complexity of the taste,” Buckley says. Back in Vancouver she made plans to open a similar shop and tasting bar with the help of a California-based distributor called Veronica Foods. Today she runs the Vancouver Olive Oil Company at 2571 West Broadway Avenue, just east of BYV’s Kitsilano Studio.

“This is totally new to British Columbia, the idea of coming in to taste these beautiful olive oils and balsamic vinegars so you know you’re leaving with something you really love,” Buckley says, adding that the colour and flavour of extra virgin olive oil (EVO) varies with cultivar (the kind of olive used to make it), region and climate. Even the age of the tree and how the fruit is handled can affect the taste!

How to Buy Olive Oil

One of her main goals is to educate consumers about buying oil. For example, most people don’t know that, while the longer balsamic vinegar ages the better it gets, “fresh is best” when it comes to EVO – especially if you hope to reap its health benefits (think powerful antioxidants). As such, Buckley plans on rotating her stock according to “crush time,” importing oils from countries in the northern and southern hemispheres accordingly.

“EVO should be consumed within six months of its being bottled, before all its good value starts to decrease and the naturally occurring peroxide values go up,” she explains. “It’s also important to look for a single-cultivar oil, made from one olive variety, rather than a blend of all kinds of different oils.”

Olive Oil & Vinegar Infused with Flavour

Her balsamic vinegars, on the other hand, all hail from Modena, Italy. Some are aged for 18 years, and others are infused with natural flavours like espresso, dark chocolate, pomegranate, cherry, honey ginger and more (some of the Vancouver Olive Oil Company’s EVOs are fused or infused with flavours like blood orange, as well). Buckley currently carries 41 products in total; that number will likely increase as her business grows.

Vancouver’s Only Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Bar

But here’s the best part: you can taste every single oil and vinegar that she sells (with a biodegradable spoon, of course). Once you’ve made a decision, a staff member will happily bottle and cork your selection right before your eyes.

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