Susan Hasslinger, who opened Leaning Ladder premium olive oil and vinegars last August in downtown Woodstock, says her store’s products have health benefits as well as good taste.
The shop carries an impressive array of olive oils and vinegars, as well as rubs, salts, herbs, pastas and wines.
A full menu of cooking classes is offered as well to help local cooks learn new techniques and recipes to spice up their culinary repertoire.
Hasslinger, who had worked for more than 20 years in corporate America before opening the shop, said her love of cooking was the impetus for the idea, but it was the health benefits that really sold her.
“I had walked into another oil and vinegar store and was impressed with the health benefits. I have always been very conscious of what I put into my body, and once I walked into the store, I knew that was what I wanted to pursue,” Hasslinger said.
Many cardiologists recommend their patients steer clear of fats such as butter and seek out the healthier benefits of olive oil, she said.
“The olive oil has to be cold pressed. They have a large amount of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants which are good for the heart and offer extensive health benefits. Many cardiologists recommend taking two tablespoons per day,” she said.
But Leaning Ladder is all about good taste as well, with more than 70 flavors of oils and vinegars offered.
From cinnamon pear balsamic and roasted walnut oil to chocolate balsamic vinegar and orange extra virgin olive oil, the range of flavors are interesting. red cayenne chili oil with pineapple balsamic can really spice things up.
For the more traditional, there is jalapeno white balsamic and garlic EVO, and those are only a few of the choices.
“Most people are amazed and say they never knew there were so many oils and vinegars,” Hasslinger said.
She said the business is steadily growing. She credits her sister, Bridget Griffin, who works with her at the shop with much of its success.
“It has been excellent, each month we have done better and better and we now have a number of repeat clients,” she said.
The shop also offers the perfect venue for classes and has a number of tasty options in January, including a class on Jan. 20 with Century House Tavern Executive Chef Daniel Porubiansky. Details of the class will be announced soon on the shop’s website at leaningladderoliveoil.com.
Other classes include:
● Warm up with Chef Mary’s Classic Baguette and Soup Class on Jan. 15 and 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost is $30 per person, per class. Each participant will make their own baguette to take home and enjoy a warm bowl of soup and bread to taste during class.
● Marinated salmon on squash with red pepper coulis on Jan. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. Fresh salmon filet pieces, marinated in Leaning Ladder lemon olive oil, paired with fresh yellow and zucchini squash served with a sweet red bell pepper coulis. Chef Alan shows how it’s done with Leaning Ladder Premium Olive Oil products and how to make a gorgeous presentation.
● Non-traditional low fat turkey and black bean chili on Jan. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. includes a cooking demo with Chef Alan. Learn how Leaning Ladder Premium Olive Oil infusions work together to make a tasty, low-fat, non-traditional Turkey and Black Bean Chili. The secret ingredient? Dried plums and more.
● Game Day Appys and Wine Pairings on Jan. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. Chef Larry Esposito and Demetrius Wines bring tailgate party ideas that are great game day appetizers too. Learn how to make dishes such as pan-fried grit cakes with country ham and maple infused mayonnaise, cheddar bacon ranch pulls and chicken and sausage jambalaya.
Leaning Ladder is located at 105 E Main St. in Woodstock. For more information, call (678) 401-2609.