Bright, Fresh Flavors!
Bistro Blends of Napa Valley is the brainchild of John Spenger, a former waiter at the upscale Scala’s Bistro in San Francisco. Legend has it that John concocted a recipe for a bread dipper at the restaurant that customers loved so much they wanted to buy it.
Years later, Spenger decided to take his customers’ advice and try to sell his product at farmer’s markets and food shows. It was an instant hit and Spenger started developing more delicious recipes. The rest, as they say, is history and now Bistro Blends offers dozens of gourmet oils, vinegars, and marinades through distributors across the country.
Part of the secret to the success of Bistro Blends is that they use the best ingredients money can buy — cold-press 100% extra virgin olive oil imported from Lerida, Spain, that’s made from Arbequina olives a lovely, fruity olive; and deep rich balsamic vinegars from a small, family-run operation in Modena, Italy.
Another reason for their success is each Bistro Blend product has a distinct flavor profile. Each is chock full of deliciously fresh herbs and spices. And, unlike many oil and vinegar blends, the flavors of Bistro Blends products are never muddled. Each one offers bright flavors that you can easily identify.
The Sun-dried Tomato Balsamic Oil, for instance, has a deeply rich, sweet tomatoey flavor that would be terrific as a bread dip, on bruschetta, or over fresh greens or pasta. The Thai Sesame Ginger Oil, doesn’t overwhelm with sesame like many oils. Instead, it blends the nuttiness of the sesame with the punch of the ginger in a combination that makes it great with noodles or an Asian sauté.
Garlic Balsamic Bistro Oil has a clean taste with a little heat at the end. The Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Meyer Lemon, one of our reviewers’ favorites, has a light lemony freshness that’s great on salads or fish. The Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar offers a deep, rich fruity flavor. Just a few drops completely changes a salad or marinade. In fact, at RFT, we love the EVOO with Meyer Lemon with a little Raspberry Balsamic over a green salad with smoked salmon. The balsamic adds a bit of sweetness to the greens and the lemon accents the smokiness of the salmon. Absolutely delicious!
Real bottom line: If you don’t know Bistro Blends of Napa products, RFTers, you definitely should. These are some of the best oils, vinegars, and marinades available and, while they’re not inexpensive, a little goes a long way. Your tongue will be both surprised and delighted with any and all of their many offerings. —Reviewed by BH/AW