A while back, a kitchen store called Cayenne Kitchen opened up in town, and I quickly became a regular customer, and got to know the owners, Terry and Bill. Recently, they moved to a larger space which gave them enough elbow room for more product demos. I volunteered myself to help out, if they needed someone to talk about gadgets and bring food samples.
The second demo I did was for a product called The Olivator, a product designed to stuff olives and other small stuffable things. Yes, I'm going backward. I'll get to the first one later.
When we were discussing The Olivator, a woman who overheard the conversation said that she'd probably use a pastry bag to stuff olives.
Since I hadn't yet seen The Olivator (it was on order) I had to conceed that if someone knew how to handle a pastry bag, that would certainly be an option. But when I finally met the gadget, I realized that it really wasn't meant for squeezing fluffy stuff into olives. Instead, it's meant for cutting a core out of something a little more solid and inserting that into waiting olives.
A pastry bag would be great for smooshing softened cream cheese into an olive; The Olivator can cut a chunk out of feta or Muenster and jam that into an olive.
But stuffed olives are sort of...boring, really. You can buy jars of olives stuffed with everything from almonds to garlic to pimentos.
I wanted to demo something more unique and more fun. I considered making a chocolate ganache to stuff into strawberries and decided that it was a bit too fussy. People might want something easier than that. I looked around the grocery store for something with the right texture, and wound up buying a collection of cheeses and olives and strawberries. I was going to grab some other berries, but it was winter, and all the berries had that sad, desperate look they get when they know they're out of season and shipped way too far from home.
At the checkout, I grabbed a Milky Way bar. Crazy idea, but I thought it might work.
For the demo, I arrived with green olives stuffed with hummus, black olives stuffed with feta, and unstuffed strawberries, hulled and ready to go. And a couple Three Musketeers bars. Yep, I was stuffing candy bars into strawberries. And they were the hit of the demo. People loved the idea, and it was simple enough that anyone could do it. And people like me who prefer cooking from scratch could certainly make ganache and use that instead.
In two hours, we nearly sold out of Olivators, and I heard that the last two were sold the following day to people who had seen the demo, but didn't buy.
As far as my opinion of the Olivator...well, it's not really a serious tool but it's fun. And it does something a pastry bag couldn't. When summer comes, I have ideas for taking cores from different melons and inserting them into other melons to get a polka-dot effect. I was also thinking that could be done with refrigerator cookies that you slice and bake, but I haven't gotten around to that project yet. Or it could be used to punch holes in a pie crust top. Or other things, probably. I still have some experimenting to do, obviously.
A plus is that the gadget comes apart easily for cleaning and is dishwasher safe. And it's pretty small, so it's not like it's taking up too much of its share of storage space. I may not use is as much as I use my Kitchenaid mixer, but I have a feeling I'll find some interesting used for it over the next few months.