What is Fustini’s?
The real question begins with, “What are fustini?” In Italy, fustini (literal translation: drums) are the stainless steel containers used to properly store olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
How did it come to be?
Jim Milligan, founder of Fustini’s, was so intrigued by and enamored with the oil and vinegar stores he saw while traveling in Europe, he wanted to bring the concept Stateside. After a long career in international business at 3M and Imation Corporation, he created Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars—the name a playful homage to his Italian inspiration. Recognizing the exploding “foodie” market at its early stages, he opened his first tasting room in 2007 in the idyllic Northern Michigan resort town of Traverse City, where he had regularly vacationed with his family for decades. Jim found his perfect second life in his ideal location.
And where did it go from there?
The original store in Traverse City flourished from the start. As it turned out, a healthy and nutritious product, presented beautifully, with a commitment to artisanal craft and supported by unwavering customer service, was bound to be a success. Jim opened new stores in three additional Michigan locations—Petoskey, Holland and Ann Arbor—within the next three years. And as of the fall of 2014, he’s taken the concept half way across another ocean; this time, opening his first location outside the 48 states, with a store on Maui. For all these efforts, Jim has been recognized as a Top Ten ‘Boomer-Preneur’ by Money Magazine and CNNMoney.com.
Why oils and vinegars?
Fustini’s products are healthy, bold and flavorful additions to so many recipes—in everything from appetizers and entrees through desserts and even beverages. Vinegars are naturally low in calories and oils are high in anti-oxidants, so they’re as good for you as they are for the dishes you prepare. And since they’re imported from select artisans and small-batch growers around the world, cooking with Fustini’s always means cooking with freshness and quality.
A trip to a Fustini’s is more than just a standard shopping experience too. Customers can taste the products themselves and come up with their own favorite pairings. With nearly 800 possible combinations, there’s something for everyone.
What sets Fustini’s apart?
While offering quality oils and vinegars with unparalleled service is our core philosophy, the essence of the Fustini’s dream has always been to be a part of great food, culinary creativity and the nourishment of the foodie inside everyone. That dream has inspired our evolution into a wider range of gourmet cooking-related products and services.
Just a few things cooking up at Fustini’s:
• We started a series of five cookbooks in 2011, each with a different focus on how to incorporate oils and vinegars into cooking.
• Fustini’s stores now offer a selection of gourmet ingredients that complement oils and vinegars—we call it the Fustini’s Pantry—with growing and changing offerings like pasta, tapenades, honey, and more.
• Perhaps the most exciting change is the creation of the Fustini’s School of Cooking—led by our own Corporate Chef, Andy Stewart—with new kitchens built in all four Michigan stores. While the aroma of savory food fills the store, the urge to cook and create fills the minds of our customers. Participants may learn new and better ways to incorporate oils and vinegars in their cooking or they may simply have another reason to enjoy the experience of Fustini’s.
• The Petoskey location typically offers classes 3-4 days per week. Classes range from a half hour to 3 hours in length, and cost is $10 – $59. We are also happy to host private events or classes in the store as well as occasional events off-site. We will cater to your needs and occasions.
We will be teaching a Grilling class at Hearthside Grove on July 29th from 2 – 3 pm. You will learn how to make a reduction, an emulsion, and a marinade and learn how to incorporate these techniques into your summer grilling. This class is limited to 20 participants and the cost is $20/per person. There will be plenty to sample! Call the Hearthside Grove Welcome Center for advance sign up 231-347-0905.
Stop by our Petoskey location at 206 Howard St. and taste the difference yourself! www.fustinis.com