Straight from the Netherlands

On the vine: Dana Hunter owns Oil and Vinegar, part of a chain of olive oil-and-vinegar tasting rooms that originated in the Netherlands. Photo by Jonathan Welch

Oil and Vinegar was opened in mid-August in Biltmore Park Town Square by Dana and Terry Hunter of Arden. Besides the namesake items, the shop also carries tapenade, stuffed olives and other appetizers, plus pottery and other oil-and-vinegar accoutrements. The shop is part of a franchise birthed in the Netherlands, where the business was named Best Food Specialty Chain and Gift Shop.

What attracted you to open an Oil and Vinegar franchise? We saw the franchise in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and we tasted some of the samples that they had and were immediately attracted to the concept. You purchase your bottle one time and refill it at these beautiful backlit “amphora walls.”

What makes your business distinct from the other two? I think the refillable bottles, but I'm not sure because I haven't been in the other two, so I don't know what they do. We also have about 400 other products besides the oils and vinegars, with about 60 samples of our items per day, including the oil and vinegar.

What are your most unique items? We have all extra-virgin and single-estate olive oils. We have the balsamic vinegars from Modena Italy, a protected region. We have specific flavored vinegars like date, fig and strawberry. We also have elderflower, apple, lime, orange, raspberry and also we carry grape-seed oil. We have high-priced balsamics — up to $200 —and we also have lass expensive items — something for every pocket book. The most distinct balsamic that we carry is from Modena, and it's gold-rated, very sweet and aged. Over many years it gets thicker and sweeter. They can't tell you how old the vinegar actually is because there are remnants (maybe 100 years old) in the barrels in which it's aged.

Oil and Vinegar is located at 8 Town Square Blvd., Suite 150, in Biltmore Park. For more information, visit oliveandvinegarusa.com or call 654-0660.

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