Whenever my husband and I plan any travel, the first thing I tell him is, “Let’s go to some exotic locale.” To be honest, I have no idea when and how the word exotic became an integral part of my being and never mind that. But whether the destination is exotic or not, we surely end up doing something exotic! It could be some adventure sport or something as simple (oh, perhaps not so simple because the buzzword here is ‘exotic’) as finding an unusual shopping place. That’s what happened when we were walking the streets of Princeton where we stumbled upon the Carter and Cavero: Old World Olive Oil Company, at Palmer Square. Such a wonderful store hidden away inconspicuously in a row of stores. What a fine find!We stumbled upon an amazing Olive Oil store in #Princeton! #Travelogue #TravelwithArchie… Click To Tweet
We love olive oil and always have a bottle at home to cook vegetables with it once in a while. When we dine out, olive oil with cheese and bread is such a treat. But this was different.
Maybe I didn’t realize it ever, but I was amazed to find such a wide variety in something as basic as olive oil. I mean to think of it, olive oil in so many flavors? Who would have thought of that one? Not me atleast! So, as we walked in, I was astounded with the different types of flavors. What fun! As suspected, both of us went berserk. There were metal containers with spigots for dispensing a wide range of oils and one could taste them all. I am sure we tasted most of the lip-smacking oils, though not all because how much bread and olive oil can you go on eating after all?
Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the tastiest of them all?
The oil that they sold there was not just to liven up cooking, but even just for dipping with a variety of breads or chips. They had several fruit fused and infused oils that actually tasted fresh from the garden or tree. You name it and you will find the flavor there – starting right from Garlic Olive Oil to their popular ones like – Blood Orange, Basil, Meyer Lemon, Tuscan Herb or Persian Lime Olive Oils to even some spicy flavors like Calabrian Hot Chili Pepper Olive Oil and Chipotle Olive Oil.
The obvious thing to do was to buy. But then how does one choose from so many varieties where each one claimed to be a best-seller? Can you guess what we did? Yes, we did one more round of tasting!!!! 🙂 And both of us, kept telling each other which was one was really nice and our favorite.
Finally, we bought one favorite each – The Calabrian Hot Chili Pepper and the fabulous White Truffle Olive Oil from Italy. What a daunting task that was! Unbelievably difficult but hey, we managed it and that’s the amazing part.
They sell vinegar bottles too. The bottles include a handy synthetic pouring cork which features an air-tight seal on the top and allows for a clean, portion controlled pour. The vinegar bottles were also boasting of a great variety like aged-Balsamics, Sherry etc., but we were more than satisfied with the olive oil. The Vinegar has been reserved for our next trip to NJ.
Cazuela Terracotta and Olive Wood
Apart from Olive Oil, Vinegar and other gourmet foods, the store has an outstanding collection of Cazuela Traditional Terracotta Cookware from Spain. Apparently, Cazuelas are one of the oldest types of cookware dating back to ancient times found in just about every kitchen in Spain, as well as in most Mediterranean countries. They are used for roasting or baking a variety of dishes. They looked so beautiful and we couldn’t help but splurge on one dipping bowl. What a beauty we own now! I use it only when serving the oil as a dip for guests.
The other produce that we spared for our next visit were the Olive wood bowls and utensils. Olive trees produce, quite arguably, the highest quality of wood and their rich tones distinguish olive wood from all other woods. We gathered that it takes years for an olive tree to reach its full potential and hence large pieces of olive wood are difficult to find. The products there were very unique, carved from solid blocks of wood and hand made in Spain, France and Peru by experienced artisans. Undoubtedly, the quality is very good.
They have a variety of products bundled into gifts!
History of Carter and Cavero
I did some online research on them after getting back home because the people manning the store were too busy to kill my curiosity and my questions had to wait. The store was brimming with people and understandably so. Turns out that this incredible concept was created in 2007 by a rare group of five friends who came together because of their passion and commitment of creating a tasteful, authentic, healthy way of living. The group consists of one born into a long line of olive growers in Spain, second one from the world of advertising in New York City, the third, a renowned olive oil taster from Madrid, the fourth – a CPA from New Jersey and the last – an attorney from New Jersey. They wanted to create something special and extra-ordinary, not mass-produced and common. Initially, they started with a unique offering of extra-virgin and whole fruit fused olive oils grown and pressed in special mills throughout the world, And now, they have extended the olive experience in a very incomparable fashion through their stores where they offer an exclusive environment where one can spend hours tasting and looking through olive-related products for cooking, health, home and beauty. They are five-store strong now.
Customer for life!
Their claim to fame? In their own words, “Once a customer finds an olive oil or vinegar that he or she enjoys, the customer can then purchase a bottle of olive oil or vinegar in one of Carter & Cavero’s handsome black custom-etched bottles. Carter & Cavero proudly guarantees your olive oil will exhibit the most important quality of a fine olive oil – freshness”.
We swear by their promise. The Hot Chili bottle is nearly over and we are going to re-order it online! I am already dreaming about the rustic terracotta pitchers and wine glasses. The question is – should I order online or should I convince the husband for another trip to Princeton? 🙂 While I find ways of luring him into another trip, let me tell you folks, whenever you are in Princeton or New Jersey, a visit to their store is a must!
Have you ever bumped into any such ‘exotic’ stores during your travels? Tell me about it…
P.S. Some more pictures of the products and how beautifully they are displayed.
Terra cotta bowl, Hot Chili Pepper bottle and Gifts Images: Courtesy – Carter & Cavero
One who is born with wings has many stories to tell. I was a born wayfaring story-teller! But then, how does a chirpy story-teller who also has wings on her back and wheels on her feet find a colossal audience to recount those sometimes awe-inspiring, sometimes eccentric encounters. I realised there was no other way I could narrate my tales to the world unless i started penning them down in black and white. That's how TravelwithArchie was born. I love calling myself a vagabond! One who dreams about places and then travels there to see how they look in the real world. Come, borrow my wings for a while and see the world with my lens!