You’ll cough twice, slightly audibly, after sipping Coratina Marcinase—an oil made from a peppery, Italian-olive varietal. The polyphenol sensation serves as a rating system, because quality oil induces coughs—generally, up to three.
And coughs abound at Mountain Town Olive Oil, which opened a location in The Gateway (upstairs, across from Starbucks), its second, in December 2010. The original Park City store is located at 605 Main, inside the Park Hotel.
Stainless-steel fustis—refillable drums with spigots—full of olive oils, specialty and infused oils, and vinegars line walls of the chic interior, row after row, about 50 in total. Although the number of choices may seem daunting, the staff educates and helps match oils with specific needs. Each fusti’s tag details its contents, such as place origin.
But it’s best to sample away. Like wine tastings, oil tastings have a unique process. The oil is poured into a mini plastic container, and then held in the hand to expose only the top. The other hand rubs over the top in rapid circular motions, creating friction and heat, thus enhancing the flavors. The oil is tasted much like wine: The sip is followed by tightly pulling in air, and then the liquid rolls down from the tongue’s tip. Flavor profiles range from sweet to herbaceous to those with peppery accents. Dust off your wine lexicon, because modifiers like “fruity,” “robust” and “lacy” all apply.
Owner Jessica McCleary believes in olive oil’s health benefits—protecting against high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. “The fresher, the better. However, most people are used to something that has probably gone rancid sitting on a grocery-store shelf,” she says.
“It does not age. Would you save a jar of, say, orange juice?”