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Jan 29, 2013 04:57 PM

Oil & vinegar store in Durham

Has anyone checked out Blue Sky Oil & Vinegar? They just opened in Hope Valley Commons in Durham, although there's another location somewhere in Chapel Hill.

I went in yesterday & it's just vats of flavored oils & balsamic vinegars, plus some flavored salt. Seems incredibly specific, especially for that particular area, but it's nice! I got some blood orange oil and made some very yummy chicken!

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  1. Don't they have little cups to let you sample the oils and vinegars? Do you recall if they sell drinking vinegars at all? Yes it is specific but thank goodness it is not like the rest of the monotony around. How expensive did they seem?

    The other location I believe is on Elliot Road near 3Cups (going out of business) and Whole Foods.

    3 Replies
    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

      Sorry to be picky, but is Blue Sky going out of business or 3Cups?

      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

        Little cups, yes. I've never even heard of a drinking vinegar, so I'm no help there. I paid $7 for 100mL of oil. It was maybe $13 for 250ml? The salt was $3 for a tube and $5 for a little container, but I can't remember the size. I didn't look at the vinegar prices, sorry. Vinegar's not my thing.

      2. I go to the Chapel Hill store on a regular basis - the plain balsamic vinegar is hands-down the best I've ever had. And if you return the glass bottles, they'll give you a deposit on them.

        1. Well I meant how the prices and all or is it all high end? Alongside that.. could I go there try one I like and find it cheaper at say Whole foods?

          10 Replies
          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            I don't know how to answer your first question. These aren't brand name bottles, it's literally a room full of urns of vinegars and oils and you fill up the bottle yourself. Not sure if you could find similar products in a grocery store. Sorry.

            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              Prices tend to range from $12.95 to $15.95 for the 375 ml size of both oils and vinegars, which is the most popular size (they do have smaller bottles mainly for gift-giving, and larger 500 ml bottles). This is specialty product and you won't find anything like them at a regular grocery store - not even the fancy ones. You can try before you buy.

              1. re: romansperson

                I went to their Grand Opening and did some trying before buying. We didn't buy anything as we stopped on the way back from grocery shopping as just a whim and figured we'd bring the parents their as they would be more inclined to buy something. Things were tasty but I think one of them may have done a number on my tummy. Anywho, its a nice shop but not sure how long it will last there.

                Also their products are not local (though the business itself is.. think franchising) and come from a bulk supplier that supplies to similar stores in other states.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  "Also their products are not local "

                  I would imagine not! :-))

                  Even a hard core locavore has to look further afield for some items...Perhaps some vinegars could be regionally sourced.

              2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                I think paying extra for specialty products at a local place is worthwhile, and what I've tasted from this store has been beyond the regular stuff you'll find at WFs.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  i've had two posts deleted trying to say something very similar. Tasting something at a store that incurs the cost of offering free tasting and then searching out a cheaper price elsewhere is not a very good way to support local specialty shops.

                  1. re: veganhater

                    Please check your email; we sent you an email yesterday about your posts.

                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                      I did not receive an email from chowhound in my junk or inbox. My email has not changed

                      1. re: veganhater

                        Please send an email to, and we'll resend the email to you.

                    2. re: veganhater

                      Quite true. I've worked in retail specialty foods and it is a huge challenge to keep offering a nice variety of these types of products. I certainly understand budget constraints but smaller shops don't get your weekly butter and eggs money to help stay afloat. Our patronage keeps interesting options in the community. The recent loss of 3-Cups is an unfortunate emphasis of that reality.

                2., though their website isn't that great, and frankly it's a lot more fun to go to the store and sample and talk.

                  Also, misinformation, for example about sizes vs. prices, is much more damaging than not posting any data at all. romansperson's information is good, the information on prices posted before was fairly misleading.

                  It's a good store. Ask about their pinot noir red wine vinegar, it was a feature that went away and came back for regulars, so it doesn't tend to be in the front.

                  At this point I'm not sure I could cook through a week without using the sage & mushroom olive oil, and the fig balsamic vinegar in particular is one that I like to use moderately frequently. I don't buy the salts myself, but I know others who do and enjoy them.

                  The location I visit is the Elliot Road one. It was nice to be able to hit them and 3cups and the bread place, drop by the liquor store, and then go to Squids to eat. 3Cups will be missed.

                  1. A general comment on specialty vinegar and oil like this...if the price seems high relative to Whole Foods, consider the value of getting to taste through some things vs. buying $10 or $20 bottles of vinegar until you find something you really like.

                    That said, IMO bulk isn't the way to go on expensive oils - too much opportunity for oxidation and likely a year or more old. I get Tuscan oils each year from small growers that are flown into the states literally weeks after the harvest at a lower price than the local stores selling 1-2 year old oils, and am skeptical that any bulk product can come close in quality.