Jana Higginbottom loves to cook with specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars. She loves the olive oils so much that she wanted to share them with others, so she opened Evoobottega (EVOO stands for extra virgin olive oil), a store specializing in extra virgin olive oils and vinegars.
She discovered the specialty olive oil when friends would bring her some when they came from North Carolina.
“It was a gift because they would stay with us and because I liked to cook,” she said.
Evoobottega, 1564 S. Dixie Hwy. in the Rivera Plaza in Coral Gables, carries a variety of extra virgin olive oils, pasta, some salts and balsamic vinegars. The olive oils come from across the world, including Australia, South Africa, Chile and Perú.
“We have the flavored olive oils,” she said, adding that the flavors include basil, garlic, lemon, Persian lime and chipotle. “This is an oil you can be proud of. It’s the best.”
She carries both diffused and infused flavored oils.
“Diffused, is when the whole fruit goes along when the olive is crushed. It’s real, real good,” she said. “The infused, the garlic, the basil, the tarragon, the flavor is added after the olive oil is ready.”
She likes to use blood orange olive oil in her chocolate cakes.
“If you don’t like flavor other than chocolate, you use plain olive oil,” Higginbottom said.
Customers who aren’t sure about which flavor to buy can ask to taste the different varieties.
“We are a tasting store. You walk in and you taste,” she said.
The olive oils can be mild, medium and robust.
“That makes a big difference on the strength of the oil,” she said.
The robust oils have the higher polyphenols, which she said is the most beneficial part of the oils.
“The higher the number the better the benefits,” Higginbottom said.
The benefits are said to include anti inflammatory properties; they are good for the heart; they are thought to prevent cancer and heart disease, and slow aging.
Higginbottom plans to continue to expand Evoobottega’s inventory.
“We’re getting more items. Right now we have the olive oils, the pastas and some salts and some other things,” she said. “I’m trying to bring in people who are interested in eating healthy, the extra virgin olive oil is in the Mediterranean diet.”
She carries pasta and black truffle salt.
“I do want to bring in some items — some local honey and tapenade, a paste made from olives that is used as a spread on bread,” she said.
One of the advantages of shopping at Evoobottega is that the store makes sure customers get the freshest oil possible.
Higginbottom posts the crushing dates of the olives and will not sell olive oils more than 18 months old.
“With the olive oil, it’s the juice of the olives — the newer the better,” she said.
More and more people are discovering Evoobottega and the Grand Opening was a big success. The store now has been open long enough that Higginbottom is seeing repeat customers come in.
“A lot of people know the concept from other places. It’s very rewarding to know the concept. They are happy it’s here,” she said.
Evoobottega is unique in Miami. There are similar stores in Florida, devoted to the specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars, but this is the first in Miami.
Higginbottom is working on featuring her store at the South Miami Farmer’s Market and she soon expects to have olive oil tastings at the store.
For information go to www.evoobottega.com or call 305-663-6666.