DARIEN, Conn. – Long before she opened her new shop in Darien, Alina Lawrence loved olive oil. Her store, Olivette, reflects this lifelong love with an impressive collection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
“There are 700 different kinds of olives, so you can imagine how many different olive oils you can have,” she said. Her store carries 48 varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
Lawrence developed her love of oils while growing up in Romania and through her relatives who live in Greece. She loves using it to cook but has also found other uses for it.
“I used to put it in my hair, like a conditioner,” she said. “Olive oil is very healthy, and also very good for your skin.” The store also has a selection of olive oil-based skin creams and products.
Lawrence got the idea for the store while she and her husband Dee were living on the Upper East Side in New York. She said that one night they went out and bought a small bottle of olive oil for $45, thinking it would make their food taste amazing.
“It tasted horrible,” she said. Lawrence ended up cooking it on her stove, adding sugar to try to improve the taste. That’s when she thought that there must be somebody in the country who offered good olive oil products.
She found a supplier in Oakland, Calif., and flew out to learn the ins and outs of olive oils. She came back East, and she and her husband moved to Connecticut, where they opened the store in December.
The store is filled with all her varieties of olive oil. Lawrence offers free samples and will tell you about all the interesting ways that you can use the oils. For example, she has an espresso balsamic that she puts over ice cream, adding a tasty kick to dessert.
The store also offers many other gourmet products, such as pastas, cookies made with red and white wine, crackers, honey and other oils.
Olivette is located at 1084 Post Road.