Yes, we have evolved my friends. This evolution has been a slow and steady one. Our hunting and gathering forefathers would be proud of our remarkable progression to a highly advanced society of pickers and dippers. Yes, I said pickers and dippers. You know what I’m talking about. We love to pick. We love to dip. Picking on imported cheese with freshly baked crusty bread dipped in seasoned olive oil. Nibbling on some marinated olives and a small pasta salad with a glass of Italian red wine for a light summer evening repast.
This is what we love to do. It makes us feel good, and it’s much healthier than eating three large meals as our parents taught us (oh, the shame). Nutritionists all agree that eating five smaller meals a day is the way to go.
Now for some great news to my picker and dipper friends out there, I’ll refer to us as the P&D’s. The ultimate “picky place” is expanding in the heart of the Elmwood Village. D’Avolio (see BRO article), the place to go for high quality olive oils and vinegars, is moving to a bigger location behind Solé in the former Annie Adams store (image). With more space comes more room, which translates into an expansion of their product line, and this is good news for all P&D’s.
Dan Gagliardo opened the first D’Avolio store in Lewiston last July, the Elmwood location opened last August and in October a Williamsville store was unveiled. His success is based on offering high quality olive oils, vinegars and salts at reasonable prices. D’Avolio prides itself on providing the best olive oils and vinegars in the country. They will continue this dedication by sourcing top of the line products from Italy for their expansion.
The first thing you notice when you enter any D’Avolio is that you can taste everything, which is a wonderful thing for P&D’s. Bite size portions of fresh bread are on hand to dip in any flavor of olive oil or vinegar. With 35 different olive oils and 30 different vinegars to choose from, it is P&D paradise.
With the move of the Buffalo store to 810 Elmwood, tastings of more items will be available…many, many more. But first, the lay of the land. The actual store is behind Solé, near Auburn, in one of those great city carriage house properties. To get there you will walk through seven foot gates and down what probably was at one time a driveway. This walkway is soon to be transformed into an outdoor café with cozy seating, an overhead canopy and cool music creating a relaxed, laid back feel in the heart of the city. Inside, the foyer will have additional seating in a warm and friendly European setting. With three-dimensional building facades covering the walls, one will get the feeling they are visiting another city. “It’s all about the atmosphere,” according to Gagliardo, whose inspiration came from a recent visit to the Rubicon Estate in Napa Valley, California.
When you enter the store area you will be welcomed by the smell of fresh baked bread made daily in the back kitchen. You will then come face to face with the P&D jackpot…an unsurpassed antipasto bar from which you can taste anything your hungry little heart desires. There will also be a deli with fresh cold cuts, again available for sampling. Now here’s a very cool thing, anything you try and love in the new D’Avolio is available to take home OR you can purchase all the products there and make your favorites at home with a recipe which will be provided. No secrets. They just want you to know how to use all of their products, what a concept!
Gagliardo refers to the new store, and this term is used loosely because it will be so much more than a store, as “beyond tapas.” He says, “We can back up everything we’re selling. Everything you taste in our store, you’ll be able to recreate at home. And everything will be available to you on the spot.” With the seating areas at your disposal you will also be able to purchase plated portions to pick and dip to your heart’s content on prime Elmwood Avenue pavement. Beer and wine will be available soon too.
D’Avolio wants to be the place you go when what you want to do is simply get a couple glasses of wine and a picky plate of tasty tidbits and hang out outside listening to some great music and then take some pasta salad home for later.
They hope to open in mid-July with late night hours through the summer. You can find more information on their delicious olive oils and vinegars at www.davolios.com. Below is a recipe to hone up on your P&D skills until D’Avolio’s expansion is complete. For more recipe ideas you can go to www.davolios.com/recipes.
Hunting and gathering is so yesterday. Get ready to head on over to D’Avolio at 810 Elmwood, and pick and dip your way through the new millennium.
Grilled Radicchio & Hearts of Romaine with Shaved Pecorino
1/3 cup D’Avolio Tuscan Herb EVOO
¼ cup D’Avolio Grapefruit White balsamic vinegar
6 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
4 large heads of radicchio, each cored & quartered
4 hearts of romaine
¼ cup shaved pecorino Directions
Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, and crushed red pepper in large bowl. Add radicchio and romaine and toss to coat. Marinate 20 minutes. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Drain marinade into small bowl. Place radicchio and romaine on grill; sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Grill radicchio and romaine until edges are crisp and slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with reserved marinade and sprinkle with cheese shavings.
Serves 4-6 as a side.