Kalamazoo Olive Company
Hours: Monday through Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 12pm-4pm
What: Kalamazoo (not only fun to say but also the namesake of the proprietor's second hometown in Michigan), is a fabulous little shop on Central Ave in downtown St. Pete, right around the corner from William's Park, that opened in 2010. If you've ever been to a local market in the area, you've probably run into them. The beauty of this little shop, or more properly, "tasting room," is that you get to try ALL off the flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that they are currently offering.
Why I'm in love:
- I never realized how many types of olive oil and balsamic vinegar there are. I mean from tuscan herb, to dark chocolate, to strawberry. It's insane. They also have seasonal flavors, like sage and mushroom in winter, which I hear is a fave. You can try every flavor in there (and there's a lot). It may be weird to some to just sip olive oil and balsamic vinegar but they are of such high quality that it is actually quite delicious.
- The staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. I never felt rushed to make a choice and the man assisting us was very helpful, especially when it came to parings.
- They also sell spice mixes, gourmet pasta, and dressings, making a true specialty shop. Perfect place to go if you're looking for a gift for anyone who likes to cook.
Other notables: For every 10 full size bottles you buy, you get a free one, just make sure you don't lose your punch card! Also, they give you a dollar off your refill if you bring back the bottle! They are also dog-friendly!
I had never had what I called "fancy olive oil" before coming here and the guy helping us said that was like saying you had only ever had a hamburger from McDonald's. Oh how true that is. We ended up buying the tuscan herb olive oil and traditional balsamic vinegar (aged 18 years!). Couldn't be happier with them!
I actually quite enjoyed the story about how Kalamazoo started. If you're interested you can read about it on their blog.