Who doesn't love samples? If you're anything like me, the best part of going food shopping growing up was the exciting free samples (which is why Costco has a special place in my heart). Being able to taste things before you buy them not only increases satisfaction for your purchase but also makes the experience more enjoyable. And even though I've grown out of a lot of things, I definitely have not grown out of my love for tasting different kinds of foods. 


Food is also a big part of my family and culture. I come from a crazy Palestinian, Greek, and Italian family that shows their love through outward affection, and often their cooking. Olive oil is the lifeblood of our dishes (we put it on literally everything) and from a young age my parents always stressed the importance of buying good quality oil. I had always loved visiting artisanal olive oil shops because of the warm aesthetic and the extensive assortment of unique flavors. So when I drove by the store here in Gainesville, I was bursting to go visit. 

Juliana Morcos

Saporito OVS (Oil, Vinegar, and Spice) is a family-owned local business located in Northwest Gainesville. It is a quaint shop with shelves of olive oil flavors and balsamic vinegars. They offer safe tasting of flavors and can even cater to special events and date nights. Some of their most popular olive oil flavors include basil, butter, garlic, Persian lime, and blood orange. 

Here are 5 reasons you should visit Saporito (or your own local store if you're not in Gainesville):  

1. You're Supporting a Small Local Business 

Recently, many small businesses throughout the US and the world are trying to bounce back from the effects of COVID-19 safely and sustainably. By supporting small businesses, you are not only fueling the local economy but also ensuring the continued success of unique services. Local businesses are usually more environmentally friendly and give back to their community.

Juliana Morcos

2. Saporito is Family-Run and Offers Warm Service 

I was immediately welcomed when I entered the store and had the opportunity to meet many members of their caring family. The owners, Keith and Katrine Dunn, have seven children who all contribute around the store. The atmosphere was very comfortable and I appreciated the personable service.

Juliana Morcos

3. They Offer Products of the Highest Quality

The olive oil in their store is classified as Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil; this is the highest quality of olive oil in the world. According to their website, their "extra virgin olive oil meets or exceeds a comprehensive set of production, storage, transportation, testing, chemical, and sensory requirements." Additionally, it is certified kosher, organic, and non-GMO. Their balsamic vinegar is also of Ultra Premium quality. 

4. The Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Certified Balsamic Vinegar Are Incredible

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, aka "Good Fats" which are essential for a healthy and well-balanced diet. These fatty acids can reduce cholesterol, manage insulin levels, and act as antioxidants. Olive oil also has many other health benefits and can reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Juliana Morcos

Balsamic vinegar also packs a nutritional punch; it contains a variety of minerals and can reduce the risk of cancer. It can also help stabilize blood glucose levels and increase the absorption of calcium, an essential ion in bone and muscle functioning. 

5. Products From Saporito Make Great Gifts for the Holidays

Not only is visiting the store an enjoyable experience, many of the products from Saporito OVS are beautifully packaged and would make great gifts for parents or relatives. They sell different sizes of bottles and their flavor assortment allows for satiable and creative dishes. You can also buy gourmet olives and spices to accompany the oils and vinegars. 

Juliana Morcos

When I visited the store, I purchased a bottle of the Black Mission Fig Dark Balsamic Vinegar. The flavor was very rich and decadent. Balsamic vinegar is very versatile and can be used for many purposes, like coating savory pork chops with a balsamic glaze or drizzling it over tart fruit. 

I love sweet salads, so I decided to make a fig, walnut, and feta cheese spinach salad (pictured below). Figs are some of my favorite fruit, and they have a very soft, sweet flavor with a unique texture. 

Juliana Morcos

The fig balsamic vinegar paired wonderfully with the salad and made for a great dinner that was quick to prepare. I will definitely be adding the vinegar to more dishes and am already excited to try new flavors. 

Fig and Feta Cheese Salad:

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 3-4 


- 1 container or bag of fresh spinach

- 5-8 purple figs (sliced in half)

- About 1/4 cup of walnuts

- 1/4 cup of feta cheese (or more if you love it like me!)

- 60-80 mL extra virgin olive oil

- About 30 mL of balsamic vinegar (I used the Black Mission Fig Balsamic Vinegar)

- Salt (to taste)


1. Wash and dry the fresh spinach leaves. Place them in a salad bowl.  

2. Cut the figs in half or in quarters. Add the figs to the spinach. 

3. Crumble the feta and crush the walnuts. Sprinkle over the salad. 

4. Mix the olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl or a salad dressing bottle. Add a pinch of salt. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. 

5. Toss the salad and enjoy!

Juliana Morcos
Juliana Morcos