By Tom Ehrich

"You will love this shop," my son said as we pushed a baby stroller up El Camino Real from San Mateo to Burlingame, south of San Francisco.

There, on an avenue filled with familiar brands, we entered a one-of-a-kind store, Del'Oliva (, selling olive oils, balsamic vinegars, other oils and stuff for aficionados.

The owner immediately began to teach us about olive oils, vinegars, how to pair them, which oils are in season now (Southern Hemisphere) and which should be avoided until the next seasonal crushing (Northern Hemisphere). In small cups he gave us samples to sip.

I came away with six bottles and an enthusiasm to keep learning. I appreciated a store owner who loves his work and treats each customer as a budding aficionado. Too often I deal with the bored clerk, the distracted owner, and the snobby Manhattan merchant most determined to parade his expertise.

Work takes many forms. But people who love their work are like magnets.