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Olive business brings different twist to Manteca
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Alexis Humphrey of the Olive Oil Pantry and Tasting Room in Manteca proudly displays her chocolate ice cream with vanilla-flavored balsamic oil otherwise known as “Lexie’s Blend.” - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
The Olive Oil Pantry and Tasting Room is a place one might expect to find in wine country or along one of the touristy coastal towns.

Rather, the gourmet business with a large variety of balsamic vinegars and olive oils from around the world can be found in Manteca at 1161 S. Main St.

The Olive Oil Pantry opened on Feb. 14 in the Safeway shopping center at a former coffee house.

“We worked so hard to make everything perfect,” said owner Arnie Kaufman.

On Monday, he was gearing up for this weekend’s grand opening of the place described as “gorgeously decorated, Mediterranean themed, culinary haven.”

The Olive Oil Pantry provides shoppers with a chance to sample and taste the product before purchase, with the slogan perhaps saying it all: “Fresh Packed, Healthy, and Delicious.”

Kaufman, who has been in the business for 24 years, noted that the product comes shipped from overseas to a tank farm in Riverside. From there, he receives his stock in bulks, specifically, freshly-packed 2.6 gallon containers.

He or his staff at the Olive Oil Pantry will bottle the product of choice right then and there for the customer.

According to Kaufman, his product is fresh and doesn’t endure the long and harsh warehouse stay that many pre-bottled olive oil and vinegars undertake.

His grand opening on Friday and Saturday will include prizes, taste samples, and more.

The Olive Oil Pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Kaufman and his staff are there to introduce and even educate folks on the vast choices of olive oils (garlic, scallion, jalapeno, habanera, black pepper, basil and lemon pepper) and, for those with a sweet tooth, their 25 star balsamic vinegars along with the flavored balsamic vinegars (vanilla, tangerine, raspberry, cinnamon-peach, anise, and pomegranate, to name a few).

A Manteca resident, Kaufman has dreamed of such a business for quite some time.

“The valley needs some place special,” he said.

In addition, the Olive Oil Pantry offers gourmet items such as chocolate, pesto, pastas, salts, spices, tapenades, biscotti, mustards, and bruschetta not to mention fine dishware, house wares and gift ideas.

This place signifies all things olive.