When it comes to fancy schmancy dinners or get-togethers with friends that somehow always seem to center around food, all too often the appetizer and dessert courses are my favorites. Light bites before dinner take the edge off my hunger and frequently steal the show for me! I’m not sure how many times I’ve ended up full on appetizers before it was time for the main course!
A few weeks ago, Oliviers & Co. reached out to me about hosting a giveaway and offered to send me some of their naturally flavored specialty oils, vinegars, condiments and Mediterranean-themed goodies. I knew immediately that I wanted to try their high-quality olive oil (both flavored – like the lemon and olive oil or chili pepper olive oil – and original) and marinated olives, but I couldn’t resist sampling some of their spreads as well.
The process behind the creation of Oliviers & Co. olive oils is quite extensive. Olives must be hand-harvested when still green and olives of different origins are never pressed together, which would result in sub-standard oil. I was a little skeptical but I can honestly say I tasted a difference! Their olive oils were smoother, less acidic and tastier than the olive oil I typically buy at the grocery store.
In the end, I used the goodies I received to create a hodgepodge of appetizers that became dinner for me and Ryan on Tuesday night!
Hey, you won’t ever hear me complain about big ol’ snack plates or hors d’oeuvres for dinner! Oh, and one dessert popped up, too, because you know I can’t neglect my sweet tooth.
Here’s a roundup of what we enjoyed:
- Basil Pesto and Italian Cheese Crostini
Oh my gosh this appetizer was so darn delicious. Ryan had the idea to make little toast “pizzas” with the pesto. They were super easy to make and came together in a flash. After toasting sour dough baguette slices under the broiler, we topped them with a spread of basil and parmesan pesto and a sprinkling of shredded Italian cheeses before placing them back in the oven until the cheese started to melt. Simple, right!?
- Taggisaca Olives Feta and Tomato Salad
This salad is a dish I enjoyed at a college girlfriends’ apartment one time that totally stuck with me. She assured me it was crazy-simple to prepare and since I had some incredibly fragrant marinated Taggisaca black olives begging to be enjoyed, I combined them with fresh tomatoes and feta cheese for a simple salad that Ryan and I ate both on its own. (Watch out for the pits!) The lemon peel and chili used in the olive marinade made the flavors in this salad pop!
Sweet and savory! The best of both worlds. To make this dip, I combined the Oliviers & Co. fig and melon spread with creamy goat cheese and used Grissini (savory Italian breadsticks from Liguria, Italy that are made from both wheat and corn flour and olive oil) for dipping. (The Grissini I used appear to be sold out, but I think the sweet olive oil crackers would be great with this, too!) Yum!
- Olive Oil with Fresh Bread
A classic and with good reason! We dipped fresh bread into the olive & basil oil and the everyday olive oil and were instantly reminded why this simple appetizer is always a favorite. The basil olive oil was my favorite but I also enjoyed the light and slight lemony flavor of the everyday olive oil as well!
- Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar
The combination of rich, creamy ice cream with a tangy balsamic strawberries made this the perfect way to wrap up the day! Ryan was skeptical about the balsamic flavor with ice cream at first, but commented on the way it complimented the fresh berries and ice cream. (I followed a recipe from Ina Garten for this dish!)
Are you drooling yet!? I hope so because here is your chance to make some delicious appetizers and have some fun in the kitchen with Oliviers & Co.
One PBF reader will win $300 of Oliviers & Co. product (of your choice!). To enter this giveaway, simply click here, join the mailing list, browse the site and leave a comment below telling me what product(s) you’d most like to try! (Anyone who enters the giveaway will also receive 10 percent off their purchase!) I will randomly select a winner on Thursday, September 18. Please note that this giveaway is open to US readers only and you must have a US shipping address and valid email address to win.