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{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Location:&lt;/strong&gt; 247 N. Woodland Blvd., Suite 100-B, DeLand&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Cuisine:&lt;/strong&gt; Limited by imagination only&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Hours:&lt;/strong&gt; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, &lt;br /&gt;and 1-6 p.m. Sunday&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Signature drink:&lt;/strong&gt; Stone &amp;amp; Grove natural teas&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Signature olive oil:&lt;/strong&gt; Tuscan Herb Olive Oil&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Price:&lt;/strong&gt; Items generally range from $1 to $25 (Delicacy Truffle Oils cost up to $45), depending on bottle size.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Kid-friendly:&lt;/strong&gt; Under the watchful eye of an adult&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Pet-friendly:&lt;/strong&gt; Service dogs only&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Limited diets:&lt;/strong&gt; All&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Alcohol:&lt;/strong&gt; No&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Specials/Loyalty programs:&amp;nbsp; &amp;nbsp;&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&amp;mdash; Save $1 when you wash, dry, and refill your olive-oil or balsamic bottle.&lt;br /&gt;&amp;mdash; Stamp Card: Earn a stamp (two on Tuesdays) with every 200mL purchase; after 12 stamps, get a 200mL bottle free (excluding truffle, seed, or nut oils). &lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Contact:&lt;/strong&gt; Wendy LaRocca&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Phone:&lt;/strong&gt; 386-873-8123&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Email:&lt;/strong&gt; wendy@theanointedolivellc.com&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Facebook:&lt;/strong&gt; The Anointed Olive, LLC&lt;br /&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Website:&lt;/strong&gt; www.TheAnointedOliveLLC.com&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;” id=”153fc60a-5aac-4817-b9b2-b5955d08f207″ style-type=”info” title=”The Anointed Olive, LLC” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

A wave of inspiration hit Wendy LaRocca one night in a movie-theater parking lot: She would open a store where customers could taste and buy olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

She and her husband had been looking for the next step in their lives. Wendy had been an olive-oil fan since being introduced to premium oils more than a dozen years earlier.

All of a sudden, she said, the complete vision of their store came clearly to her.

“We had been praying a lot,” Wendy said.

After traveling around to little shops and falling in love with the benefits and flavors of the oils and vinegar, husband and wife Richard and Wendy LaRocca opened their own tasting store, The Anointed Olive, in Downtown DeLand in February 2018.

The LaRoccas were both born in Michigan, but didn’t meet each other until they moved to DeLand.

Their store at 247 N. Woodland Blvd., next door to Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, has a chic, industrial feel. It is full of “fusti” (“tanks” or “barrels” in Italian), containing 80 different, always rotating, types of olive oils, balsamic vinegars and infusions.

The store reflects the LaRoccas’ commitment to making healthful food widely available.

“We strive to benefit all the members of the community,” Wendy said.

The company’s logo is prominent in neon at the front of the store: Designed by Anointed Olive employee Yasmin Avillaneda, it features an olive branch with the business name in cursive.

Being faced with 80 different fusti can be intimidating and overwhelming at first. Fortunately, part of The Anointed Olive philosophy is meeting the customer at the door, and manager Emmanuel Bell often does just that.

In my case, Emmanuel’s godmother, Wendy LaRocca, met me and showed me around.

The Anointed Olive offers an interactive and educational experience. The passion shown by members of the family is impressive. Wendy’s son Matthew Gray rounds out the staff.

They opened up to me the world of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The debate continues, but Wendy notes that several medical experts and studies say extra-virgin olive oil can help with a variety of health problems, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, aging and even Parkinson’s disease.

Adding olive oil to your dog’s diet can have health benefits for your furry friend, as well, she said.

The Anointed Olive doesn’t sell basic olive oil; rather, the store is certified as a UP, or “ultra premium,” distributor. The products are tested by the most credentialed olive-oil lab in the world, with the strictest rules and guidelines to ensure the store’s offerings are the top of the line.

“We have basic olive oils sold in grocery stores to compare with, and it blows people’s minds how big of a difference the taste and quality are,” Wendy said.

The olives used to make oils sold at Anointed Olive are pressed within two to four hours of harvest, and are harvested slightly green, when the fruit is the juiciest.

Wendy led me from fusto to fusto, to sample plenty of her products, which are distributed by Veronica Foods, whose business model has earned the LaRoccas’ support.

“We support family-owned and -operated businesses, which is all we sell in our store,” Wendy said.

I tried a plethora of olive oils from around the world, ranging from mild to robust. Each fusto had a laminated card with notes on the oils made by professional olive-oil tasters, and including scientific scores that the employees of The Anointed Olive are happy to explain.

I never realized how similar wine and olive-oil tastings are! This became evident as Wendy showed me the technique used by professionals to grade oils.

First, the taster pours out a tablespoon in a small plastic cup, covers the cup and swirls the top to create heat for about 30 seconds, then uncovers it and inhales the aromas. Then he or she slurps the oil and coats the mouth and palate, then swallows and notes the sensation in the throat.

I also learned this method is never used for infused olive oil, which may have ingredients, like garlic or citrus, that could irritate sensitive areas in the mouth if heated and then tasted in this way.

I tried Baklouti Green (Fused) Chili Oil from Tunisia, which comes with a warning label for spiciness. I also enjoyed garlic-infused olive oil, the rich satisfaction of white and black truffle oil, an olive oil that tastes like butter, and a combination of wood-smoked olive oil and peach white balsamic vinegar that tastes like bacon!

The Anointed Olive doesn’t offer bread with their samplings, as the use of bread detracts from the true flavor of the oil or vinegar.

The Anointed Olive bottles everything at the time of purchase to ensure freshness and quality.

The Anointed Olive supplies its high-quality products to local restaurants such as Wrap It Up, Urban Brick and Sweet Spot, and even supplies the DeLand High School Culinary Arts Program.

Products are sold in four sizes; 60, 200, 375, and 750 milliliters, or roughly 2, 6.5, 12.5 and 25 ounces, respectively.

I highly recommend The Anointed Olive. In addition to oils and vinegars, they sell spices and teas, soaps and kitchen accessories. Watch for their monthly pairings of oil and vinegars, which comes with a discount and a recipe, and find a schedule of classes on the store’s Facebook page.

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