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DEVOtee - my first trip to the storeI made it. I’ve been waiting for this day for a year. I couldn’t wait to step inside Devo Olive Oil in Myrtle Beach. I can’t believe that during my July 2011 visit neither my mother or sister told me about this place. Before leaving home, I cleaned out pantry space, threw out products like corn syrup (yuck), to make room for more oils and balsamics.

My love affair started on Christmas 2011 with a gift of a 16-bottle sampler pack. The sampler bottles contain 1/4 cup of liquid goodness: eight bottles each of oil and balsamics. Receiving the sampler pack started my online dating with Devo. It is a virtual romance. [I’ve had success with online dating; I met hubby on Match.com, before they had pictures!!] Shortly after I received a bottle of Violet Balsamic, along with a challenge: what can I make with it. I’ve used it on veggies, in vinaigrettes but after seeing It’s Complicated for the umpteenth time I am dying to try lavender ice cream. I’ll get there, but right now it’s complicated since I’m still on BeachBody detox.

Our plan was to eat, see, shop: Lunch at Travinia’s (great salad and grilled veggies), see Brave, and then shop. It was torture as soon as we arrived at Market Common. I could see Devo in the distant. Its storefront colors were calling me. During the movie I dreamed about what I was about to experience. Trying hard as I could to focus on Merida and her journey, I couldn’t wait to start mine in Devo.

As soon as the movie ended, we made our way to the brightly painted store. My knees were weak. I felt like a kid going to a candy store. Walking in I was overwhelmed with bright, shiny vats (about 80, I couldn’t count). Where should I start? Where was my list? Yes, I wrote a list anticipating that I might become overwhelmed and forget what I wanted. The last time I had this feeling I was in Beijing’s pearl market. I make jewelry as a hobby and I couldn’t wait to create with pearls and other gemstones to make a memorable piece. The only memory that I have is standing, shaking, unable to make a decision. I left the pearl market without a single pearl. This was not going to happen again.

I quickly mapped a plan of attack. Start at one end of the store and sample each oil and balsamic. That plan quickly went out the window as my mother and sister were at different stations screaming, “Oh you must taste this! You must taste that!” Each vat offered its liquid into tiny paper cups. The kind you use at the dentist when you need to swish and spit. This time, however, you swirl and swallow. Taste an oil or balsamic on its own or mix and match to create a unique flavor blend. There were some balsamics that you could just add a bit of vodka too and voila – cocktail. Thinking of vodka and those paper cups I wondered if I could make jello shots…

Devo Olive Oil and BalsamicsMy linear plan turned into a zigzag of flavors. I carried filling bottles with me throughout the store and placed one at each chosen vat, to help keep track during the chaotic tasting pattern. I had my heart set on black truffle oil, which was out of stock. I tried to minimize my splurging, but I have more room in my suitcase. The shipment may be in before I head home, and maybe there’s another flavor I must have NOW; if not, my virtual romance will continue.

Leaving the store, my sister quipped, “Susan, you are a DEVOtee!”