Olive Oil has been a staple in my diet my whole life, especially since I grew up in Northern California in an Italian household. My earliest memories of olive oil go back to when I was very young and the scent of garlic, bell peppers and olive oil would fill the air as my dad would be preparing a big meal. That aroma always evokes happy memories of my dad and cooking. Now that I am a mom, I have been introducing cooking to my children and olive oil is used in almost everything we eat. One of my favorite things to bake is an Olive Oil Citrus Cake that is always a crowd pleaser.
Recently I was invited by one of my idols in the food blogging world, Family Foodie, to a Chilean Olive Oil dinner. Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Chile? This was definitely my kind of event. Not only would I be dining at a restaurant that has been on my wish list amongst fellow food bloggers, I would get to taste something new. A large group of us gathered in a private room at Flamestone Grill in Oldsmar and were treated to an outstanding dinner created by Chef Eric Lackey. Yes, this was my version of heaven!
We started off with Black Pepper Tomato Pretzel Bread with a White Anchovies Aioli. Simply outstanding, I loved the flavor of the pretzel bread and I am not a huge fan of anchovies, but the aioli was delicious!
Next we enjoyed an appetizer trio consisting of Heiloom Yellow Tomato Caprese Salad, Fresh Tomato Tart and Olive Tapenade made in a traditional molcajete with Chilean Extra Virgin Olive Oil rubbed Crostinis. This was an incredible presentation and I really enjoyed each item. The Tomato Tart was probably my favorite with it buttery crust and succulent tomato flavor.
Our first entrée was an Agave Soaked Chicken with Red Wine Bermuda Onions and Pan Seared Chilean Extra Virgin Olive Oil Purple Potatoes with a Burnt Sugar Olive Oil Dust. WOW! This was so flavorful and I loved the colors of the dish. Chef Eric really impressed me with his innovative use of the burnt sugar olive oil dust. Simply amazing!
Next we had Cast Iron Seared Polenta Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with a Toasted Pepita and Chilean Extra Virgin Olive Oil Drizzle. Chilean Sea Bass is one of my favorite types of fish and I order it whenever possible. Hands down, this was one of the best versions of this delicate fish that I have ever had. I loved that it was crusted with polenta which is another staple in my kitchen. Each bite was so enjoyable, I didn’t want it to end.
By this point, I was asking myself why it had taken me so long to get to Flamestone Grill. I was so impressed with everything thus far and really enjoyed learning so much about Chilean Olive Oil. Our third entrée was a duo of a Portabella and Goat Cheese with a Porcini and White Truffle Cappallacci alongside a Goat Cheese and Arugula Stuffed Piadina. If you are not familiar, Cappallacci is a form of ravioli. As an Italian girl, this “knockeda my socks offa.” The Porcini and White Truffle flavor duo was just insane! It melted in my mouth and even though I was full, I ate everything. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Piadina, which is a thin, Italian flatbread. How can you go wrong with goat cheese and arugula? You just can’t. I was so full, but I finished everything.
Our grand finale was a decadent dessert trio of 1. Chilean Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt Brownie with a Peanut Butter Dust Infused Olive Oil and Caramelized Marshmallow 2. Olive Oil Almond Sugar Cookies with Fresh Raspberries and Whipped Cream and 3. Chilean Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake with Candied Tangerines and Pecans. Yeah, I was truly in heaven. My eyes lit up when I saw the olive oil cake since I enjoy baking so much. Everything was beyond delicious and I had to take most of it home, I was just too full. I enjoyed the Olive Oil Almond Sugar Cookies with my morning coffee and they were wonderful.
The Chilean Olive Oil truly won me over and I was delighted that we got to take some sample bottle home. I can’t wait to experiment with some of my own recipes. I want to thank both Flamestone Grill and Family Foodie for such a remarkable event.