New store - Oil and Vinegar - opens in Regents Arcade, Cheltenham
It wasn't that many years ago that few people in this country had heard of extra virgin olive oil.
And it's even more recently that balsamic vinegar has become part of the national culinary consciousness.
But it's a testament to the growth in popularity of the cuisine of the Mediterranean region that you can now find shops dedicated solely to these two types of ingredients.
Oil and Vinegar is an international chain which started in Holland but has since spread across the UK and has even gone trans-Atlantic to the USA and Canada.
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Recently the chain opened a store in Regents Arcade, Cheltenham where it is managed by Mark Windebank, who has a background in catering having previously worked at the Tewkesbury Park Golf and Country Club Hotel, and his team of four staff.
The shop only opened on Saturday but Mark said he has been pleased with the sales in the first week, which he said compared well with the other stores around the country.
The displays in the shop are visually stunning, dominated at one end by several glass jars called amphoras, each of which holds seven litres of various oils from around the Mediterranean.
The rest of the shop is divided up by nation – Italy, Spain, France, Greece among others – with jars of olives, bottles of oils and vinegars and many different herbs, spices, dips and other condiments stocking the shelves.
Mark said: "Customers choose their product and their bottle and we fill it up for them.
"There are a lot of unusual flavoured vinegars in here, for example, which taste great in sauces and dressings but also in puddings and in drinks as well.
"People's tastes have changed now and people have become a lot more educated about the different types of foods out there.
"All our ingredients are sourced from the country of origin and when people come back from holiday and want a taste of where they have been then this is the place to come.
"We are going to do promotions all year around – there's a harvest one on at the moment and there will be a Christmas one soon.
"I do my own ordering so if there is something that someone has asked for or that is going down particularly well then I can get more sent over.
"We do gift sets for people as well where they can put together their own ingredients, utensils and jars of pastes, condiments or flavourings.
"There's a recession on but you wouldn't know it here. Sales have been really good and I expect that we are going to have to take more staff on over Christmas."