Oil & vinegar do mix at new Fustini’s Wailea

The idea board at the front of the store spells it out:

“Drizzle our coconut Balsamic on grilled pineapple,” it reads. “Spice up burgers with Barbary Coast green chili oil,” it suggests. The person who wrote the ideas also favors mixing cinnamon-pear Balsamic into Greek yogurt (which I tried at home and it was crazy good); and to replace butter on corn on the cob with chipotle oil.

There’s no doubt about it: Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars brings a whole new culinary world to Maui home cooks and chefs in its location upstairs in the former Celebrities art gallery in The Shops at Wailea.

With five locations in Michigan, Fustini’s Maui is the first to debut in the state. Owner Jim Milligan procures only just-crushed and harvested oils, and ships in Balsamic vinegar from its native Modena, Italy.

“Right now, we import from countries such as Peru, New Zealand and Australia in the Southern Hemisphere; and from Spain and California.,” says Milligan.

The cool, air-conditioned, oil-and-vinegar tasting room is lined with stainless steel tubs of dozens of infused flavors, such as tart cherry Balsamic and chipotle oil. Mix them together and you’ve got the perfect pork marinade. Or pick blood orange or gremolata flavors.

On Saturday, Fustini’s will celebrate its grand opening with festivities and tastes for the general public.

“We’re very excited to have opened our tasting room in The Shops at Wailea,” says Milligan. “We are thrilled to invite every cooking and entertaining enthusiast to stop in and enjoy the full range of Fustini’s products first hand on Saturday.”

The grand opening celebration will begin at noon, starting with a Hawaiian blessing by Kimokeo Kapahulehua.

“Following the blessing, Fustini’s will be serving an hors d’oeuvres menu created by Tommy Bahama’s Executive Chef Maka Kwan and his culinary team, featuring our oils and vinegars,” continues Milligan, who has been awarded as one of the Top 10 Boomer Preneurs by Money Magazine as well as by its CNNMoney.com counterpart.

Visitors will enjoy the likes of crab cakes, salmon, shrimp and assorted meat skewers, all popping with unusual tastes prepared with the flavors of Fustini’s oils and vinegars.

Other chefs are starting to take notice as well as place orders.

“Matteo’s Osteria owner Matteo Mistura just started a program with our Barbary Coast infused olive oil at his Wailea restaurant,” says Milligan. “He says he’ll be drizzling it onto his hummus to go with the baguettes. We look forward to expanding to other restaurants. We also just spoke to Michael Rose, general manager of Longhi’s.”

Besides olive oil varietals such as Picual and Manzanillo, Fustini’s sells specialty oils such as avocado, pumpkin seed, walnut and white-truffle. Balsamic vinegars are aged up to 18 years, like a fine Scotch. Tasting sales associates lead your palate around the room, and the store offers recipes, cookbooks and gift cards. Each tasting room is set up to host culinary classes, private receptions and other special events.

Fustini’s Maui is open from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Call 868-4351.