By Trena Packer Street
A gourmet gift and spice store that specializes in fine olive oils and vinegars is scheduled to open Thursday at Carriage Crossing in Collierville.
BAZAAR is only one of a handful of such shops available throughout the country and the first retail venture of three long-time Collierville residents, Sandy and John Barrios and Sheila Smith Thomas.
“When we were in Europe, we saw shops like this and knew immediately it was just the right concept for Collierville,” Sandy Barrios said. “We will sell the absolute finest, extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars plus gourmet gifts and spices.” Partner Thomas said, “BAZAAR is a shopping destination. It’s really a special event every time you come in and a recipe is given with each olive oil purchase.” Thomas enjoys a 20-year career in custom cookbook publishing and is the author/editor of four cookbooks, teaches cooking classes and is the QVC On-Air Guest for Favorite Recipes Press cookbooks.
“The health benefits of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars are phenomenal and the shop will be the perfect spot for ‘foodies,’” Barrios said. The Barrios’ have owned and managed Barrios Financial for 14 years and are also known for their volunteerism. “Collierville has always been our personal and business home,” Sandy said. “We can’t think of a better way to expand our business than adding a culinary career.” BAZAAR will include the ‘European experience’ of high level customer service. Forty six varieties of olive oils and vinegars, housed in ‘fustis,’ stainless steel vats that maintain the freshness of oils, will be available for tasting. Seasonal oils will also be offered and flavor-infused balsamics can be paired with oils to suit shopper’s tastes.
Balsamics are made from pure and unfermented grape juice, called grape must, meaning the sugars become caramelized giving some a dark color and sweet taste. The oils will come from America, Peru, Australia, Chile, Tunisia, South Africa, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. All extra virgin oils are pressed within four hours of harvest and shipped to the shop as soon as possible. Because of the two harvests throughout the year, Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, you are guaranteed to get the freshest oil possible, offering the most nutritional value possible.