California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I was recently sent a sample of a new olive oil produced right here in California! The launch of California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin olive Oil marks the first time a US brand has mass-produced high quality, fresh, affordable, everyday EVOO for the US marketplace.

I didn’t introduce olive oil into my daily diet until 4 years ago… before that I was a butter girl. I now know that EVOO is not only healthy but super tasty, so I was excited to try this fresh product.

To test the flavor Mike & I did a tasting between it and a couple other similar priced oils¬† — Colavita and Whole Foods 365.

Here are the results:
California Olive Ranch (100% Californian): deep green/yellow color, strong fruity nose, full bodied, distinct olive flavor with peppery finish.
Colavita (100% Italian): light yellow color, no apparent smell, medium body, mild flavor.
Whole Foods 365 (Italian/Spain/Greece Mix): light yellow color, delicate aroma, thin body, fruity flavor.

Verdict…Buy local! California Olive Ranch was the most flavorful and aromatic. In a blind taste test we would have no problem picking out the CA EVOO because its characteristics are so pronounced.


scampi pasta

Next, we cooked with it. We used it in three dishes; a corn and tomato salad, a shrimp scampi pasta and roasted cauliflower & red peppers with a caper vinaigrette. All dishes turned out delicious. The oil is very versatile.

If you’re looking for a robust oil to add to your kitchen arsenal give California Olive Ranch a try, you won’t be disappointed.


Round Pond olive oil tour and tasting

imported Mediterranean olive trees

I read about the Round Pond olive oil tour and tasting on Giada’s Weekend Getaway to Napa recap on the food network website. It sounded like fun so Mike and I went July 26th. The tour was very private with only 6 people. It began outside next to the olive trees with a discussion about the family-run business. Then we moved inside the mill and learned how the olives are processed. I didn’t know this but olive oil is only pressed one time during the year (November) so we didn’t get to see the equipment in action. The tour portion ended and we went onto the tasting which included taking shots of the Round Pond Italian and Spanish olive oils as well as their lemon and orange infused oils. Mike and I preferred the peppery Italian blend to the fruity Spanish and the zesty blood orange over the delicate lemon. Next we tasted their two gourmet red wine vinegars by drenching a sugar cube and sucking out the juice. Odd procedure but deliciously sweet. We enjoyed the Sangiovese vinegar best. To finish things off we were given heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, bread, strawberries and mixed greens to try all the varietals with food. We had a foodie feast!

Mike and I highly recommend this unique experience. If you’re going to be in Napa for a number of days it’s a wonderful alternative to going to yet another wine tasting. I will definitely go back, hopefully during the harvest.


tasting room

olive oils

(click images to enlarge)

Tasty Tip: Appointments required. 1.5 hours / $25 per person

Del Dotto Wine Caves

We have been going to Napa for many years. For the first time we decided to check out the Del Dotto Cave Experience & Barrel Tasting as it was recommended by a friend. The tour starts off with some history about the winery owner, some background about the caves and info on the different kinds of oak barrels. A guide then takes you into the caves and you taste their red wines directly from the barrel. Following the barrel tasting you return to the winery and sample a few bottled wines along with chocolate truffles and cheese. Our guide was fun and knowledgeable and the wines were good. The tour lasted 1 ¬Ĺ hours. You taste over 15 different wines so be prepared to be buzzed!

Tip: Make a reservation, not a walk-in situation ($40 per person)


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