By Janee Law
A rustic atmosphere is on display to all who walk into The Crusted Olive, found at 278 Main St. in Huntington village. They can feast their eyes on a variety of different, ultra-premium and infused olive oils, dark and white balsamic vinegars and gourmet oils.
“For such a long time people thought that olive oil was bad for you and it was going to make you fat,” said Mona Rossero, who co-owns the business with her husband, Bob. “We started reading up on how good it was for you and that it’s a good fat to have in your diet. All the health benefits, you can get with olive oils.”
Originally from Huntington, the couple moved to North Carolina, where they opened up their first location in Hickory in 2010. The Hickory store turned out to be a success and so they decided to open up another in Huntington in 2011.
“It sort of snowballed up here in New York,” Rossero said. “We decided to sell the one in North Carolina and move back up here.”
After the Main Street location opened, Rossero opened up another location that same year in Stony Brook, then in Sayville in 2012, Babylon in 2013, Port Jefferson in 2015 and Wading River last month.
“We enjoy it because we feel like we’ve taught people about good eating,” Rossero, who currently lives in Port Jefferson, said. “It’s worked and people are getting educated.”
Along with olive oils and balsamic vinegars, the 2,000-square-foot location also offers jams, jellies, salts, pastas and more.
The store gets its products from Veronica Foods distributor in California. The distributor brings in products from around the world, including Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, California, Chile, Argentina, and Australia.
“It all depends on the harvest,” Rossero said. “There’s a northern hemisphere and a southern hemisphere harvest, so now we’re in the process of waiting for the northern hemispheres to come in.”
Offering 55-60 different flavors, customers can taste the product with a small piece of bread before bottling the product fresh from a metal dispenser.
With five different size bottles for every occasion, prices are based on the type of product and the size.
Rossero said popular items in the store are the Tuscan herb olive oil and the 18-year aged traditional balsamic. Other flavors for balsamic include black cherry, blueberry, cinnamon pear, dark chocolate, and maple, while olive oils include basil, black truffle, garlic, French walnut and roasted sesame.
In addition, location offers Le Bon Fromage, a cheese shop owned by Patrick Ambrosio.
“There’s no place in Huntington where you can go in a store and have someone who let you taste and talk to you about cheese,” Rossero said. “He’ll cut whatever size you want and gives you samples. It’s just a nice blend of our store and his.”
Rossero said they pride themselves in the quality of their product, adding that the olive oils exceed the standards of organic.
When it comes to her role in the business, Rossero said she loves learning about olive oils and the vinegars, and interacting with the customers.
“It gets people thinking a little bit more outside the box with what to do with the olive oils and vinegars and everybody is eating better,” she said. “There’s so many good nutritional properties to olive oils and vinegars so I think that’s the best part of it too.”