I had never been to The Natural Olive Oil Soap Factory before. At the risk of sounding like a borderline alcoholic I strongly suspect that the lack of booze is the reason. Despite the fact there’s still no booze there (probably a good thing) I recently visited and I’ll be heading back soon … don’t worry, this is still a beer related post!
For 15 years they have been making various soaps, scrubs and lotions. The shop sits beside the factory floor where it’s all made so you can see the process etc and the shop even has a basin for you to test their beautiful soaps, though it is a little strange washing your hands in a crowded shop. Out the back in their Gourmet Room you’ll find fat juicy olives, chunky macadamia pesto, aromatic olive oil, dressings and fresh pasta and sauces that have you looking around for a pot and an open flame. In fact you can taste test a lot of their items to such a degree that you could practically have lunch.
It will come as no surprise that it was the Gourmet Room that won my beery heart.
One little gem I stumbled across was Lime Olive Salt from a company called Camilo in Victoria. With the words “lime”, “olive” and “salt” on the package it was hard to resist – what’s not to like about that combination?! Ripping open the sachet the tangy cooked lime and black olive aroma is so addictive I had to be careful not to inhale any.
The woman at Vasse Virgin suggested throwing it over fish then oven baking. I took her advice and also threw in a few chopped garlic cloves and shallots for good measure. I used local pink snapper and served it with creamy mash potato.
I matched it with Mac’s Hop Rocker, a New Zealand pilsner that’s one of my favourite beers. It is made with Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops, providing fruity and floral notes, that seemed to bring out a little sweetness from the shallots and being a nice soft flavour against what is a fairly light fish. The beer carries hints of citrus and delicate bitterness and worked beautifully with the lime olive salt.