New Store Offering Bold, Refreshing Flavors Opens in Downtown Missoula
A new store has opened on Main Street in downtown Missoula, and already, products are flying off the shelves.
Missoula's downtown has experienced some exciting changes recently.
The latest business to open its doors is Tosca Fine Olive Oils & Balsamics, a family business run by Madison Rothwell and her mother-in-law Tara Rothwell. Madison was a high school math teacher and Tara is a hospitalist. They are both working to transition out of those professions.
"Both of those places are kind of in a state of chaos. For me, food and beautiful things and everything that we're doing here has been very grounding," Madison told me.
After the pandemic, Madison says she had been searching for ways the last few years to calm both herself and others, and that led her to food. Tosca, the name of the business, is also the name of Tara Rothwell's Italian grandmother, who is also the namesake of the Tosca Cafe in San Francisco.
"Honoring family traditions like bringing food to people and bringing people together," Madison says, also inspired the store.
What You'll Find in Tosca Fine Oils & Balsamics
The store features Italian dried goods like pasta noodles and herbs, but you'll also find olives, sardines, and cured meats. The most impressive part of Tosca, though, is the rows of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Each one comes with a detailed description and the opportunity to sample before you buy. Many of them are infused with citrus and floral flavors while others are more traditionally culinary, like garlic, sage, or black truffle. Even the smallest drop of the white balsamic vinegar infused with grapefruit will ignite your whole mouth with bold flavor. Madison says they have 58 flavors of oils and vinegars, but when construction is finished they will have room for four more.
The cucumber balsamic has been a favorite among early patrons of Tosca.
"Very tart very bright, has a good bite," Madison says. "Also the pineapple and the honey ginger are both really lovely."
Madison also shares that there is tons of flavor to be experienced in the traditional oils. "I love the distinctions between the premiums that don't have added flavor. We have a medium intensity. Very creamy mouth feel. We have three very robust ones that are all very different. Some are very peppery, some are very vegetal."
If complex flavors or choosing oils and balsamic seems overwhelming, fear not. Madison says they are here to help.
"A lot people too, I get this math, kids are scared of math. I say math and they flinch and cooking is kind of the same way sometimes. People don't know what to do and they want special moments, or how to create that for themselves," Madison, says. "I also know that family coming to town can be stressful and entertaining can be really stressful and I enjoy it, and I understand that others don't. But I hope that they can come in here and I can give them some tools so they can feel inspired and they can feel capable and create whatever space they're trying to make."
Keep scrolling to see a peek inside Tosca Fine Oils & Balsamics.