Second Olive Oil Shop Opens in Dunedin
A wave of specialty olive oil stores, popular in Europe and in California, open across the East Coast. Vanessa Wilks and Nancy Zareczny own one of two in Dunedin that opened in the last six weeks.
The hottest trend in healthy food is olive oil tasting shops and two have opened in Dunedin in the last two months: Middle Earth Olive Oil Company and Kalamazoo Oil Company.
Vanessa Wilks and Nancy Zareczny, owners of Middle Earth Olive Oil Company, were retired, ladies who lunch before they opened their specialty food shop in Westfield Countryside Mall in 2011. This past July, after a year in the mall, they moved to the Broadway Shops in downtown Dunedin.
Wilks and Zareczny felt that the Broadway Shops offered a more casual atmosphere where they could host tasting parties with live DJs, and have more flexible hours. Their customers followed them from Countryside, and Wilks says the people of Dunedin have been super supportive.
“Olive oil tasting bars are the new foodie thing,” Wilks explains. “It's gourmet made easy, and these olive oils have phenomenal flavors so a little bit goes a long way."
Health benefits and the endless flavor combinations are part of what made Wilks and Zareczny fall in love with the oils. The two women are former neighbors and close friends. They both pride themselves on their love of food. Wilks is the previous owner of a fine chocolate shop in Dunedin named Chocolate Divas and Zareczny spent many years as an EMT and now keeps her creativity alive in the kitchen.
The store, although visually pleasing with its tables of stainless steel fustis (the oil and vinegar containers), is geared towards the other senses rather than sight.
"We encourage people to take the time to come in to taste and smell our products," Wilks says.
Patrons who visit the store get introduced to flavor parings that will make their mouths throw a party. Unique combinations like coconut white balsamic vinegar mixed with Persian lime olive oil will have their tongues get down on their knees and beg for more.
The shop brings in new flavors each season, so with every visit patrons are guaranteed to leave inspired.
A second gourmet olive oil shop opened this summer in Dunedin, proving a trend may be on the rise.
Kalamazoo Oil Company opened in Independence Square Plaza (near Winn-Dixie) on Aug. 25. Much like Middle Earth, it specializes in olive oils, vinegars and gourmet olives.
Part of why olive oil is so trendy is because of its exquisite taste and its health benefits. Olive oil is high in antioxidants and contains monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which, when used to flavor food instead of trans and saturated fats, provides protection from heart attacks and strokes. Olive oil is also thought to help regulate blood sugar, which is important for diabetics.
Want to Go?
Need the perfect hostess gift? Buy a sample of vinegars and olive oils at Middle Earth Olive Oil Company. Or stop by to sample the best selling sun-dried tomato and Parmesan infused olive oil. Or buy butter-infused olive oil, which is recommended by the local Weight Watchers chapter as a tasty butter substitute.
Then review your experience on Patch!
- Where: Middle Earth Olive Oil Company, 737 Broadway
- Contact: 727-797-1300, http://www.middleeartholiveoil.com
- Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Monday, closed.