"I've tried a lot of oils," she says, "but none that taste this fresh and delicious."

In July, Elizabeth Nuttle opened E.N. Olivier, a store in Bare Hills that stocks olive oils and vinegars, as well as gourmet condiments and salts and beauty products made from olive oil.

"I wanted to bring people around the bend and show them that it's not hard to cook good food with good ingredients," she said. Her shop stocks about 20 types of olive oil from around the world, each a "varietal" (meaning made from one type of olive), based on whatever is most fresh at any given time.

Among Nuttle's favorites are the Picual, a medium-flavored Australian oil; the Cobrancosa from Portugal, which has a more peppery finish; and a lemon-fused oil in which the lemons are crushed with the olives, "which adds another dimension of flavor," she said.

In Annapolis, Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom on Main Street also offers a bevy of olive oils. They range from fruit flavors, to harissa olive oil, infused with the North African spice.

The shop is a favorite of Kevin Relf, chef of the new WEST Kitchen and Tavern, inside the Loews Annapolis Hotel.

WEST features a hearth oven, fresh herb garden, and a raw bar. For one of his recipes — the grilled artichoke with lemon-fused aioli — the chef incorporates Meyer lemon-infused olive oil that he purchases from Seasons.

"We're regionally and seasonally motivated," says Relf, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. "We'll seek inspiration through local farmers and partners in the greater Chesapeake region."

Back in Baltimore at Pompeian, its historic facility will soon become a tourist destination.

The company is in the process of building a 4,000-square-foot visitor's center, tentatively slated to open this winter. It will have a state-of-the-art kitchen, an on-site chef and official tasting room and more, say officials.

"There will also be displays about the history of olive oil," says Fryling. "People can tour the factory, and taste the product. There's a lot of great heritage in that bottle."

Grilled Artichokes with Meyer Lemon-Fused Aioli

For the artichokes:

1 globe artichoke

salt, fresh ground black pepper, Old Bay, to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon "Seasons" Meyer Lemon-Fused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon parsley, minced

For the aioli:

1 pasteurized egg yolk