Great Lakes Olive Oil Co.

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Great Lakes Olive Oil Co. offers the freshest oils from around the world/ Photo by Mary McElgunn

Indulge your senses with the freshest oils and vinegars from all over the world, or belly-up to the gourmet tasting bar to discover what flavor best fits your palate at the newly opened Great Lakes Olive Oil Co. “It’s definitely a different kind of experience,” said Elyse Lee, chief operating officer. “Once people get in here and we open up the idea of sampling all the different flavors, it’s really a fun experience for them.” Originally based in Frankenmuth, Great Lakes Olive Oil Co. recently opened a new location in Lansing at Eastwood Towne Center. The shop offers a personalized experience where customers are guided to discover which oils and vinegars best suit their cooking (and tasting) needs. “Everybody’s experience is a little different,” Lee said. “We work with them depending on how they cook. We find different flavors they might like to integrate into their cooking style. We try to be helpful.” The shop offers a wide variety including oils from Italy, Spain and more exotic locations like Argentina and Tunisia. Other varieties are infused with flavors like garlic. The most popular flavor by far, Lee said, is the organic Tuscan herb extra virgin olive oil. The vinegars they carry — such as the raspberry balsamic vinegar — are fruitier and sweeter options. Along with a better ambiance, buying oils from Great Lakes Olive Oil Co. ensures freshness. “Most of the oil you get at the grocery store is already rancid because it sits on the shelf,” said Lee. “Ours is guaranteed to be pressed within the last six months. We work directly with our distributors, and you can really taste how fresh everything is. We know the families who grow the olives and do all the pressing, so it’s a nice guarantee.” Lee also emphasizes the health benefits of the oils she sells. Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest oil to cook with, Lee said. It only has monounsaturated fat, which is the one fat that’s good for you and helps with heart disease and lowers cholesterol. “It’s nice to cook with something where you know you’re getting health benefits. Our products are all natural with no preservatives, chemicals or additives in it.” Their vinegars, for example, taste sweet not from added sugar but instead just from the aging and actual grape juice which makes the balsamic. The shop also provides merchandise that can serve as great gifts along with their vinegars and oils. Lee said growing up she became a foodie by accident, and it’s the reason — along with looking for a career change — she became invested in the East Lansing location today. “Owning this store is a great way to bring unique and quality products to people who already are foodies and expose it to people who might not consider themselves foodies,” she said. “It’s about sharing the knowledge and our product to other people.” Great Lakes Olive Oil Co. is a family business that believes firmly in standing behind the product you sell. “We’re a foodie family. We fell in love with the idea of being able to sample different oils — it’s unique and different. And it’s really nice to say we are an all natural extra virgin oil olive company.”
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Tags: Eastwood Towne Center, Foodies, Great Lakes Olive Oil Co., lansing