Monday, March 9, 2009

Olive Oil from Umbria

For a precious few weeks after crushing, olive oil has a wonderful pungent, hot-peppery, and intensely fruity quality. This is called olio nuovo, literally "new oil."
One of the great pleasures of being in Italy in November and December is tasting the oil just as it comes from the press. A great tradition in Umbria and Tuscany is to venture into the countryside and attend the new oil festa at the local frantoio (olive press/factory) where they serve bruschetta, crusty bread grilled, rubbed with garlic, and doused with the olio nuovo, then sprinkled with sea salt. All of Italy celebrates the olio nuovo with bottles of the intense nectar in every restaurant. Read the Olio Nuovo Newsletter with highlights of this year's harvest:

Olivestri produces exquisite Gold Medal winning olive oil from select hand-picked olives. Located on the Tuscan border not far from Cortona and the famous wine producing town of Montepulciano, Petrignano imbues the best of Tuscany and Umbria in its oil. If you are not familiar with Olivestri, you can read about them here.
All of there olio nuovo is completely unfiltered so that you can enjoy it the way they do in Italy.
If you have questions about sediment and age expectancy of olio nuovo, you can read abut it here: The Gunk

Check out our selection of oil bottles to keep your favorite oil fresh. Protect fresh oil from light and excess heat by keeping a selection on the counter for cooking and the rest in a safe cool cabinet. No use wasting the precious oil.

Friday, March 6, 2009

How not to Kill Your Spouse While Traveling

Sometimes a little Humor goes a long ways...

1. Communicate "Find your own phrase to say to support your partner when you don't have the privacy you want or when life on the road is getting you down. For instance, a simple 'Good morning' can mean 'I love you.'

2. Stay amused "Play silly games. Like 'Which movie star does that driver we just passed look like?' Such pointless fun alleviates the kind of boredom that sooner or later leads to pointless arguments."

3. Indulge "While traveling cheaply through Italy, we decided we should experience Positano as it was meant to be enjoyed. We checked into a nice hotel and had a totally elegant dinner. That bit of luxury made everything else better."

4. Pace yourselves "Six places in eight days is not interesting. When you slow down, you discover where you need to work together. Travel can be the renewal of a relationship."

5. Go solo "You don't have to spend every minute together. Set aside an afternoon to shop on our own for jewelry and music. After a few hours of exploring alone, it's fun to regroup and share your adventures."

6. Do not disturb "Different sleeping patterns may not be a problem at home, but when you're in the relatively confined space of a hotel room, they can make life hard. Bring earphones for watching television and eye masks for the light."

7. Chill out "You have to learn to roll with the punches. If we're starving and driving each other crazy, and there's no restaurant for another 70 miles, we can either get a chocolate bar at a gas station, or we can stick it out." Or in my case always carry a snack. We make a habit of stocking up in the airport before we get our rental car. A bag of peanuts and a drink may be really handy when you haven't eaten for 12 hours and the hotel restaurant is closed..

8. Make special plans "Create surprising little gifts out of the mundane: 'Honey, I rented us a car with a stick shift!' or 'Guess what, we're flying direct!' Your partner will then feel as if you've taken his or her preferences into account."