And I adore olives and olive oil. I seriously couldn't live without it. Especially olive oil. Fortunately, my friend M is as much a food enthusiast as I am. She prepared the day's itinerary for us but I might as well have drawn it up myself! It is inevitable that such like-minded individuals would have this much fun on a road trip together. Aside from the winery, she included visits to olive oil, cheese and chocolate tasting rooms. Ooh la la! Could that be any more delightful?!
the olive press outside The Olive Press
So after Viansa we proceeded to The Olive Press, a rustic old building with a state-of-the-art Pieralisi press located in the Jack London Village. Olive trees guard the entrance to the tasting room and Provençal-inspired gift shop. Inside is a plethora of all things olive. There are pretty baskets, olive-themed ceramics, assorted jars of tapenade, olive oil storage containers, table linens, kitchenware, cured olives, and various books about olives. On a shelf across the main entryway in neat rows of sleek dark bottles are the olive oils.
In the middle of the room, on offer are the various dipping oils infused with the freshest herbs and spices. Beside each variant is a dipping dish and chunks of crusty bread. I was in glorious oily heaven! I couldn't decide which one was my favorite but it was a close fight between the Basil Walnut and Roasted Garlic and Rosemary dipping oils. What I loved best were the tapenades which I sampled on baguette slices. They were delicious! At the rate I was going, I wasn't going to have any room for lunch!
Then there is the tasting bar where you can sample all the olive oils. Here is how to sample the oils: Pump some olive oil into a small plastic cup and warm it with your hands. Bring the cup to your nose and breathe in its bouquet of aromas. Place a drop of the oil on your bottom lip and taste the oil for its degree of sweetness. After which, sip the oil and using the sides of your tongue, taste for spiciness.
the tasting bar
Beside the tasting bar is a window, through which you can watch the hammer-mill press if you are lucky enough to be there during milling season (Oct-Jan). For those who are not so fortunate, like us, there is a free video tour that demonstrates the entire process.
14301 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, Sonoma County