Saturday, July 28, 2012

Artichoke Lemon Tapenade Bruschetta

278.  Lucero's Olive Producers and Manufacturing in Corning, California was a wonderful place to experience!  
One of our finds there was their Artichoke Lemon Tapenade.
 I toasted Italian bread then spread each one with the Tapenade.  Sprinkled parmesan cheese over the top.  Then toasted them under the broiler.
 This Tapenade is wonderful!!!  It would be great on crackers, heated and tossed with pasta or just enjoyed by the spoonful!
"Cleopatra and Nefertiti knew the wonderful effects of olive oil a natural cosmetic.  The Mediterranean lifestyle is in, and, thanks to cooking shows on television, olive oil is in.  It's that simple."
~Margot Hellmiss

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lucero Olive Oil

277.  Our trip to California took us along back roads and out of the way places.  While driving off-highway, we came to a town called Corning.  Signs all around advertised this town as the heart of Olive Oil production.  Billboards calling it the "Olive City" and the "Home of the Queen Olive".
We love olives and olive oil, using it in many recipes, so we stopped off to "taste" olive oil and ultimately bring home various bottles of the lovely golden liquid.
The company we chose to visit was called Lucero Olive Manufacturers.  What a gem of a place!
We were taken on a tour of their Olive Mill filled with large vats of olives and olive oil in various stages.  
We were then invited into their show room to "experience" their olive oils. 
 A tasting delightful!  Our guide explained how to taste olive oil correctly:
Fill a small paper cup with oil.
Set the cup in the palm of your hand and slowly roll it around your palm.  This will warm up the oil to your body temperature.  The warmth releases the aromas.
Next, smell the oil to take in the scents.
Then, slurp the oil; this is done by sipping a small amount of oil into your mouth while “sipping” some air as well. (When done correctly, you will make that impolite noise that would cause you to be scolded when you were a child!) Slurping emulsifies the oil with air that helps to spread it throughout your mouth - giving you the chance to savor every nuance of flavor with just a small sip of oil.
Finally, swallow.  You will experience stinging in the back of your throat and the flavor will explode.
This was such an enlightening and rewarding experience.  We were encouraged to try them all...each one was so uniquely lovely.
Our guide began to explain about the flavored oils with mandarin orange, lemon and meyer lemon, basil, garlic and yes...chocolate!!  She also told us about the wonderful balsamic vinegars all imported from Italy.
Then, she said, "Would you like to try the balsamic and oil on ice cream?  It was delightful tasting vanilla ice cream drizzled with cherry balsamic and chocolate olive oil, and ice cream with mandarin orange olive oil which tasted like a creamsicle.
Their showroom was surrounded with a variety of oils, balsamic, bottled olives and bottled condiments such as tapenads, spreads and mustards.  Everything was set out in samples to taste...and everything was delicious!
We purchased their Gold Medal Winning Lemon Olive Oil, Sevillano Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Chocolate Olive Oil.  It was hard to decide...we wanted everything!  But we had to be able to fly home with all our treasures.
Outside the showroom was an olive tree, in the courtyard over 100 years old
We drove along the olive groves passing thousands of trees covered with olives.
This expedition was one I won't forget.  Wishing I could live closer to this olive wonderland!

~MILLER'S TASTING NOTES of the Sevillano Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This olive oil is mild, with "earthy" flavors and a fruity finish, like apricots and bananas. Even with a softer finish, it will stand out among other oils due to it's unique flavor. 


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