I grew up in an Italian family and so I am no newcomer to olive oil. There was always a large colorful tin in my grandmother’s kitchen and the simple salad that she served at the end of our Sunday lunch was simply dressed with olive oil and vinegar. If I was lucky there was a little of that dressing left in the bottom of the bowl and what a treat it was to sop it up with a crusty piece of her homemade bread. At the time all I knew about olive oil was that it came from Italy and that it was part of the Italian kitchen.
As the years went by my love affair with olive oil grew. I moved from supermarket oil to ordering oils from a company importing from small Italian producers. I began traveling to Italy and hauling back bottles of oil in my suitcase. This was certainly not the oil of my childhood, rather it could be bold and grassy or light and delicate or even smooth and buttery. It was not just for salads and sauteing but for drizzling in soups, sprinkling over freshly grilled bread for bruschetta and for adding a layer a flavor to meats and fish fresh off the barbecue.
I will always be a fan of Italian oils but you can now get the same quality (or even better) olive oil being made by growers in California. The climate is perfect and similar to the Mediterranean where olives have been grown for centuries. When you buy locally produced oil you are getting a fresher product and unlike wine, olive oil should be consumed sooner rather than later. You can find oils with the same delectable flavors as the foreign oils and chances are that you’ll be spending less money.
Here in the San Diego area why not take a trip to visit the home of the Temecula Olive Oil Company located in Aguanga, about 18 miles east of the town of Temecula. Tours are given on their working ranch on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. You’ll be treated to a complete tasting of their products, a tour of the property and the pressing facilities while learning about the art of producing olive oil. You’ll come away with a new found appreciation for olive oil along with ideas on how to use their flavorful oils.
Temecula Olive Oil Company
with tasting rooms in Old Town Temecula, Old Town San Diego, Solana Beach and Seal Beach and if you’re out of town check out their website and place an order to be shipped to you!