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First Friday Tastings - September 2, 2016

posted Aug 28, 2016, 3:11 PM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated Aug 28, 2016, 3:11 PM ]


First Friday Tastings - July 1, 2016

posted Jun 24, 2016, 7:02 AM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated Jun 28, 2016, 7:19 AM ]

Stock up for your July 4th celebrations!  Stop by Old Lex Mercantile on July 1st between 4:30 and 6:30 pm for special First Friday Tastings.  Sample our new house-made prepared food and let us help you plan the perfect holiday picnic! 



First Friday Celebration - June 3, 2016

posted May 26, 2016, 1:47 PM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated May 30, 2016, 11:33 AM ]

Our Special Tastings for June First Friday Will Feature...
A Selection of La Cerignola di Una Volta Antipasti



La Cerignola di Una Volta is a family-owned company from the town of Cerignola, in the region of Puglia.  Domenico Iaculli selects only the highest quality vegetables (such as artichokes, peppers, olives, mushrooms, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes) from local producers to produce his wonderful antipasti products.  The vegetables are hand-packed, pasteurized, and hand-labeled. 

On Friday, June 3rd, we'll pair our antipasti selection with Italian wine and fresh-baked bread.  Stop in to experience some amazing food!



New at Old Lex Mercantile!

posted May 24, 2016, 8:29 AM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated May 25, 2016, 5:08 AM ]

Rustic French Batard

This wholesome artisan bread is made using the highest quality, pure, simple ingredients -- no artificial colors or flavors; no preservatives or additives. We have sampled many loaves, and it is fantastic! Serve it plain, dip it in olive oil, slater it with butter or use it to make a delicious sandwich. You can't go wrong!

Available two ways:

  • Par-baked:  take it home; bake it in your oven; and you’ll have fresh, hot bread in 5 - 6 minutes

  • Freshly baked and ready to serve:  give us 30-minutes notice and we’ll have it ready for you to pick up.

John Wm. Macy’s Cheese Sticks and Cheese Crisps
Best snacks ever?  You decide. But we challenge you to find better baked cheese snacks anywhere! Crafted by artisans from layers of fresh sourdough, fine aged cheeses and hand-picked spices, John Wm. Macy's twice-baked appetizers are nothing you've ever tasted.  Our delicious variety of CheeseSticks and CheeseCrisps will turn any occasion into a party.

Gluten Free Options


In February, we ran a trial featuring fresh, gluten-free pasta from RP’s Pasta Company.  The feedback from our customers who prefer gluten-free options has been phenomenal. We now offer two varieties of fettucine (plain and spinach) as well as lasagne sheets.  As demand for gluten-free products continues to grow, we also have added a line of crackers made by Free for All Kitchen.  Gluten-free and non-GMO, Free for All Kitchen crackers are made with cassava flour and five ancient grains. These smaller cut crackers are great for party appetizers, snacks, or part of a full meal.  They complement everything from traditional cheeses and soups to exotic dips and spreads.


Anna Mae’s Smoky Sweet BBQ Sauce


This subtle, yet undeniably smoky flavored sauce boasts of seasoned tomatoes together with onions and spices. It's mysteriously bold baked into Southwest meatloaf or brushed over peppercorn beef tenderloin beneath melted Gorgonzola cheese.






Mt Vikos Feta Cheese


High in the mountains of Thessaly and Macedonia and on the island of Cyprus, sheep and goats feed on local grasses, wild herbs, and flowers. The resulting fresh milk makes Mt Vikos® Cheeses exceptional.  EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): PDO as defined by European Union Law, was designed to protect the names, reputation, quality,genuineness, and authenticity of regional foods. The law also protects the ingredients used and processes to make the product. As an example - feta must be made with sheep and/or goats milk from the region and produced using traditional methods, which requires straining without pressure. Mt. Vikos Feta is among the cheeses that are protected by EU Protected Designation of Origin  (PDO).  


MeadowCroft Farm


Based in the Shenandoah Valley, MeadowCroft Farm specializes in heirloom pickles, sauces, relishes, fruit jams, and pepper jellies.  Our initial stock includes spiced peaches, jalapeno mustard sauce, and two varieties of pickle...we’ll be happy to add other MeadowCroft products as there is demand.

Handcooked Lightly Salted Virginia Peanuts


The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg has been carefully selecting and hand roasting the finest peanuts in Virginia for more than 40 years. Distinctively unique, crisp, and always great tasting, these plump, meaty peanuts are cooked in golden peanut oil with no additives or preservatives to alter the natural goodness. Available at Old Lex Mercantile in three sizes:  7 oz (perfect for gift baskets); 10.5 oz (perfect for sharing); 32 oz (perfect for a crowd).


First Friday Celebration - May 6, 2016

posted Apr 28, 2016, 10:12 AM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated Apr 28, 2016, 10:16 AM ]

Our special tastings on First Friday will feature...

Wine  
Carlos Serres Tempranillo 2013 
This wine from Rioja, Spain offers aromas of fresh red and black fruit, liquorice, and vanilla notes; dark fruit in the mouth which is intense and long, but also finishes with fresh acidity.

Olive Oil  
Nunez de Prado Flor de Aceite
This oil is gathered after olives are crushed, but before they are pressed between mats.  Only the oil that flows through with gravity is bottled in its unfiltered form.  It is called Flor de Aceite (flower of the oil) because many of the savory senses of smell and taste are concentrated within.  Its exceptional flavor is marked by hints of green apples, almond and burnt orange with a smooth and peppery finish.

Nunez de Prado

This "little brother" of the Flor de Aceite has tantalizing nuances of green olives, oranges, lemons, grasses, and apples, all accentuated by a heady pepper finish.  Unforgettably flavorful and truly versatile.


Savory Snacks
Fig Almond Cake

This freshly pressed fig cake is handmade in Valencia, Spain.  It is excellent paired with cheese.  Slice it thinly or chunk it and add it to your cheese plate for a wonderful contrast of savory and sweet.  Also perfect for a snack or in salads.
    
Manchego Cheese
This is a popular sheep's milk cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain.  Aged three months, it has a firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture, with flavors of hay, grass, and fruit, with sweet, tangy notes.
Dequmana Olive Mix
This elegantly designed line of olives is cured the natural way with water and salt.  The olives are hand harvested and processed in small batches to ensure the highest quality product.  These mixed olives are from the traditional recipe used in Andalucian homes each year at harvest time.  It is a perfect combination of hojiblanca, gordal, cuquillo and arbequina olives with herbs and natural red pepper.

 4:30 - 6:30 pm 
Come join us!

First Friday Celebration - April 1

posted Mar 28, 2016, 5:16 AM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated Mar 31, 2016, 10:51 AM ]

Our special tastings on First Friday will feature...

Wine  
M. CHAZALLON COTEAUX DE L’ARDÈCHE 
Bright and crisp rosé.  Perfect for sipping on a warm spring evening or pairing with a summer meal.

Olive Oil  
MARQUES DE VALDUEZA (2015)
From Extramadura, Spain, this olive oil is distinctly fresh and fruity, with hints of almond, pepper, and an unforgettable sunny fragrance.

MERULA (2015)
From the same producer as Marques de Valdueza, the olives for Merula are from the second harvest. The added time on the trees gives this oil its characteristic buttery feel that fills the mouth and its distinctive notes of green olives, cut grass, green almond and dried fruit.

Antipasti

SEASONED ASPARAGUS
From Cerignola, Italy, our exclusive selection of antipasti includes asparagus, eggplant, grilled red peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and tuna stuffed peppers.  Extraordinarily simple and delicious.  Enjoy a sample of our featured selection.  

 4:30 - 6:30 pm 
Come join us!



Dinner for your Valentine

posted Feb 3, 2016, 5:52 PM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated Feb 11, 2016, 6:39 AM ]

We can help you create this elegant dinner for your Valentine.  
Just follow these simple step-by-step instructions.
Easy. Delicious. Perfect.

Bruschettini, Chevre, Cognac Fig Sauce
This fresh chevre topped with a Courvoisier cognac and fig syrup makes a terrific hors d'ouevre.  The cheese has won numerous national awards and is one of our favorites!  Pair the chevre with Asturi Bruschettini.  These little toasts are baked using only the highest quality olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
    
Instructions
1. Several hours before your meal, take the chevre out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature
2. When you are ready for this first course, open the cheese, invert onto a plate, and squeeze slightly to remove the container.
3. Arrange bruschettini on the plate and serve

Heart of Palm, Roasted Red Peppers, Balsamic Vinaigrette
This simple salad requires just four ingredients:  Hearts of Palm, Roasted Red Peppers, White Balsamic Vinegar, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  We recommend our best-selling Cattani White Balsamic...it is truly extraordinary!
  

Instructions
1. Open and gently drain the hearts of palm and roasted red peppers
2. Slice 2 - 4 hearts of palm into 1" - 2" segments
3. Slice 2 - 3 roasted red peppers into strips about 1/2" wide
4. Arrange the hearts of palm and roasted red peppers on serving dish
5. Pour about 2 - 4 tablespoons olive oil and 1 - 2 tablespoons vinegar into a measuring cup  
6. Rapidly wisk the oil and vinegar to create a thick vinaigrette
7. Pour the vinaigrette over the hearts of palm and roasted red peppers

Porcini Mushroom &Truffle Triangles, Olive Oil, Shaved Parmesan
These filled pasta triangles are so incredibly flavorful that we recommend serving them with just a little extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese shavings.  No sauce needed!

 

Instructions
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil
2. Gently add the pasta triangles to the water, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 4 minutes
3. While the pasta is cooking, pour 2 - 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl
4. Gently drain the pasta in colander
5. Add the pasta to the mixing bowl and gently stir to coat with the olive oil.  Drizzle on another tablespoon or two of oil, if needed
6. Arrange the pasta on a serving platter
7. Top with grated or shaved parmesan cheese and fresh basil (if desired)

Vanilla Ice Cream, Balsamic Vinegar, Strawberries, Amaretti Cookies
This is one of the simplest and most delicious desserts we've ever made.  It's always a big hit.
 

Instructions
1. At least one hour before dinner, wash and slice a small pack of fresh strawberries
2. Place the sliced strawberries in a mixing bowl and liberally coat with Cattani Olivewood Balsamic Vinegar
3. Stir the strawberries; repeat stirring every 30 minutes or so (as the vinegar draws the sugar out of the strawberries, a sweet syrup will form).  Add additional balsamic vinegar, if needed.
4. Scoop vanilla ice into serving dishes
5. Top with strawberries and syrup
6. Serve Amaretti cookies on the side or crumble on top

Chocolate
Gearhart's Pod and Vine chocolates are the perfect ending to a delicious meal. Crafted with Gearhart's signature Dark Chocolate Blend and premium Virginia wine, they will melt in your mouth.


Champagne or Sparkling Wine
No Valentine's Day meal is complete without a glass of bubbly.  Treat yourself to a bottle from our selection of Champagne, Prosecco, or Sparkling Wine.

  
  














Know Your Olive Oil!

posted Jan 29, 2016, 9:24 AM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated Jan 29, 2016, 9:44 AM ]

If you haven’t seen the 60 Minutes segment about the agro mafia and fraud in the olive oil industry (aired January 3rd, 20
16), it’s definitely worth watching:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-agromafia-food-fraud/


This is a stark reminder that you can’t always trust the label when you buy olive oil.  So how do we know the extra virgin olive oil we sell at Old Lex Mercantile is authentic?  


First, we buy directly from olive oil importers, who buy directly from olive oil producers they know and trust.  There are no “middle men” involved.


Second, these producers submit their olive oils for third party lab analyses.  They share their independent lab reports with our importers, providing details of the chemical analyses and validating the authenticity.  (And we are happy to share copies of these reports with you.)


Third, the olive oils we carry are bottled on the producers’ estates and sold only in sealed bottles (or tins).  This ensures the “chain of custody” from tree, to bottle, to our store shelves, is clear and direct.


Here's what one of our olive oil producers has to say on this topic:

“With [our] centuries-old philosophy deeply engrained in our way of doing things, the products found under the Marqués de Valdueza label are produced with the utmost care and hygiene. The result is that our olive oils have been consistently guaranteed as extra virgin by competent third party laboratories every year since their appearance in 2002. The extent and detail of the analyses we have performed [to attest to the extra virginity of our oils] are unsurpassed in the market today.  Our oils contain only extra virgin olive oil produced by mechanical means from our own estate-grown olives. We control every step of the cultivation, harvest, transport, and production of our oils.  [Y]ou can be sure that the thousand year old Álvarez de Toledo family name guarantees their unadulterated purity and wholesomeness.

 

And here are a few words from one of our importers:

“Our small olive oil producers are not interested in selling their oil as a commodity.  Our producers submit lab tests and sensory tests. More importantly, they win major competitions with the same olive oil (exceeding lab standards) and they excel at producing great olive oil.  There’s no tampering with our gems. And, quality doesn’t come cheaply. ‘If you’re paying seven bucks or eight bucks for a bottle of Italian extra virgin olive oil,’ he [Guy Campanile with 60 Minutes] says, ‘it’s probably not Italian extra-virgin.’

Indeed, a great olive oil is an investment.  Please make sure you know what you’re buying before you spend the money.

Help Us Grow!

posted Jan 27, 2016, 7:45 AM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated Mar 23, 2016, 11:12 AM ]

Greetings from Old Lex Mercantile,


As we’re nearing the two-and-a-half year anniversary of our opening, we’d like to share our version of an “annual report” with you.  This level of disclosure may be somewhat unorthodox, but we consider every one of our customers to be a stakeholder--with a vested interest in the success of our business. By sharing some results with you, we hope to inspire input that can help shape the future of Old Lex Mercantile, LLC.


When we opened the business in November 2013, our primary mission was to help breathe new life into the block of West Nelson St between The Palms and Blue Sky.  With our offerings of bottled extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta and sauce, we sought to fill a vacant niche in the downtown retail market.  And we sought to create a business that would appeal to locals and visitors alike.


With time, we expanded our offerings to include wine, cured meats, duck breast and other poultry (by special order), pate, crackers, antipasti, condiments, specialty dips/sauces, cookies, the ever-popular babka, and more.  From hors d’oeuvres to dessert, we offer everything you need to create a delicious, yet simply-prepared gourmet meal.  


Without a doubt, we have filled an unmet need.  We have a loyal following of customers who frequently stop in to pick up fresh ravioli, salami, cheese and crackers, or a bottle of wine.  And we recognize “the look” when a customer comes in frantically needing to replenish their supply of our white balsamic vinegar!  


There’s nothing more gratifying to us than helping folks find just what they need.  Putting customer service above all else, we happily open the store after hours when customers call, we encourage special requests and do everything we can to fulfill them, and we make home deliveries.  We even have personally delivered a case of vinegar to a customer in Pennsylvania.


Here’s a sampling of feedback from our customers:


  • “I love this store! I'm so glad it is in Lexington, my hometown. My husband is absolutely obsessed with the white balsamic!”


  • “You both are so helpful and always have such good ideas and products. We are fortunate we have you here in Lexington!”


  • “Outstanding products and great addition to the Lexington community. Helpful, happy assistance always!”


  • “Who could ask for more than personal delivery?! We enjoyed your hospitality last July during W&L Alumni College. Thank you for your kind service.”


  • “Thank you for allowing me to sample items and thank you for the suggestions. Also, do REALLY appreciate the free gift wrap!”


In 2015, we had over 1,500 sales transactions.  More than 60% of our revenue derived from wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pasta sales, and our profit margins were within industry targets.  This certainly validates our hypothesis that there’s demand for these premium products in Lexington. We recognize, however, that we need to increase our sales volume to ensure this business will be sustainable over the long run.  So, we’re seeking ways to expand and grow -- with offerings that establish Old Lex Mercantile as the premier shop in Lexington for gourmet food.


Can you help us grow?  We have some thoughts…


  • We know that an expanded array of offerings will help drive more foot traffic and increase sales.  Please bring us your ideas!  What else would you like to see on our shelves?  If you’re a local customer, what new items would entice you to stop in on a bi-weekly or weekly basis?  If you’re an out-of-town customer, what new items would make Old Lex Mercantile your must-go-to destination each time you visit lovely Lexington? Share your input with us via email (contact@oldlexmercantile.com), a phone call (540.319.4180), a post to our FaceBook page (Old Lex Mercantile, LLC), or a visit to our store at 113 West Nelson St.

  • In our little corner of the world, we’ve discovered that word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising.  Please tell all your friends about Old Lex Mercantile and encourage them to shop here. We strive to offer products that are not available anywhere else in Lexington and are competitively priced with what you can find online.  Shopping with us and helping us grow is a great way to support our local economy!  


  • Please “Like Us” on Facebook!


We’re having a great time sharing our love of delicious food with each of you and doing our small part to help bring new vibrancy to West Nelson St.  We appreciate all you have done to bring Old Lex Mercantile this far, we appreciate your support going forward, and we appreciate any ideas you may have to help us grow this incubating business into a full-fledged, sustainable market in downtown Lexington!  


Your friends,

Lai and Betsy Lee



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