Missie Darnley is the owner of First Taste at 412 Delaware St., Leavenworth.
1. Can you tell us about the new store and why you decided to open a business devoted to olive oils and vinegars in Leavenworth?
First Taste is dedicated to educating the public on the importance of fresh extra virgin olive oils.
We offer everyone the opportunity to 'taste before they buy' all of our olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Coming from a military family and background we felt that we could relate with the diversity of Leavenworth's population and become a meeting place to bring the local community and the military community together in an inviting atmosphere with an emphasis on food and health.
2. Your store carries a wide variety of oils and vinegars. What are some of the flavors and which ones are most popular with your customers?
One of the great things about our oils is that they all pair very well with each other, but depending on what our customer is using them for, favorites vary.
Tuscan Olive Oil (which is an extra virgin olive oil infusion) and the Traditional Aged Balsamic are perfect for salad dressing or dipping bread, especially when combined with some of our Basiks seasoning combinations and parmesan.
Another popular choice for soups, sauces and gravies is the Wild Mushroom & Sage infused olive oil and Espresso Balsamic Vinegar; it's a rich, earthy combination.
A new favorite is Cara Cara Orange Vanilla White Balsamic Vinegar with our Fused Blood Orange Olive Oil!
It is amazing over vanilla ice cream, fruit and even in your favorite cocktail.
3. The health benefits of olive oil have been getting more and more attention in the U.S. and have long been appreciated in Mediterranean areas. What are some of the benefits of olive oil consumption and are your customers purchasing it for health reasons, because it tastes so good or both?
Some of our customers come in because they know about the health benefits of olive oil and vinegar.
We hope that through the education we offer at the store, those who purchase because they love the flavor and the many ways it can be used will continue using it because of the documented health benefits.
Some of the benefits of olive oil are the Polyphenols they offer which are antioxidants found in olives, it is also a natural anti-inflammatory and appetite suppressant.
Balsamic vinegar is also a natural appetite suppressant, it has its own set of antioxidants, and is beneficial for those with acid reflux problems and Type II Diabetes.
4. You offer recipes in your store for dishes that are enhanced by the use of olive oils and vinegars. What are some of your favorites that you would recommend to customers?
Page 2 of 2 - We have recipes for cooks at all levels. Our website has a list of recipes that give our customers ways to use the oils and vinegars as well as variations so people can create their own recipes and flavor profiles.
5. So far, what has been the best thing about opening a business in the local community and what is the most important thing that you can contribute to the community through your business?
One of the best things is being able to interact with our community in a way that offers them something more than a purchase.
Because we offer education through cooking classes, cooking demonstrations and private tastings, we create the opportunity for people in the community to get to know each other and us.
Because our product is so good for the body we offer a healthy alternative to more common flavor enhancers like mayo or ketchup. One of my favorite things about owning a small business in our community is that we are able to create an experience that will last long after the product has been used.
— Rimsie McConiga