When the traffic on Winchester gets to be a bit much and the ever growing population is making us feel a bit crowded, we begin to long for some wide open spaces and views that go on for miles. We often fix that need with a drive out to Temecula wine country, but the journey a bit farther out to Aguanga transplants us into a wonderful, rural world where the air is clear and a good pair of work boots will get us wherever we need to go. Temecula Olive Oil Company ranch is a great destination for those looking to venture off the beaten path and the recent Olive Harvest Festival gave us a great excuse to head out of town.
Temecula Olive Oil Company is family owned and operated, committed to using only California olives of the highest quality. On the ranch, they practice sustainable agriculture, growing and harvesting a wide variety of olives, which they hand press using traditional methods to produce fresh, full-flavored 100% extra virgin olive oil. The pressing room was in full operation at the Festival and grove manager, Thom Curry, treated us to a firsthand look at how their artisan olive oil is made. This is no mass produced oil: each batch is crushed and hand-pressed with painstaking care and the results are exceptional. For a complete photo set of our experience courtesy of Juanita Juarez, please visit our Taste of Temecula Flickr page.
As the Festival was a benefit for Slow Food of Temecula Valley, we traded tasting tickets for sips of wine from Leonesse Cellars & Robert Renzoni Vineyards as well as the excellent wineries local to Warner Springs: Hawk Watch, La Serenissima and Shadow Mountain. One of my favorite tastes was the Robert Renzoni Novelle Sangiovese: a limited production Rose perfect for the holiday season. Fresh and fruity without being excessively sweet, this wine would be a great match for Thanksgiving appetizers.
We were also pleased to see our pals from Black Market Brewing Company at the event. Our first taste of the newly released Carrie, an American Red Ale, was one that will keep us coming back for more. Great news for us and other BMB fans: their tasting room will be open in time for Thanksgiving! Swing by for a pint or take a growler home for the holidays . . . your family and friends will love it as much as we do. Typical hours of operation will be from 1 – 9 pm, but call please call 951.296.50399 for more info.
While Swift Pony and Jerry Hot Rod Demink played in the courtyard, we enjoyed pasta from Anthony’s Ristorante featuring fresh veggies from Olivewood Farms. Amalfi’s Wood-Fired Mobile Pizzeria wowed us by firing scratch made pizzas drizzled with just-pressed olive oil. Almafi’s offers a unique alternative to traditional catering options and we look forward to seeing them again soon.
Chef Leah from E.A.T. (Extraordinary Artisan Takeaway) Marketplace was serving up a delicious artisan salad with organic greens and other treasures – a perfect compliment to the pizza. We are thrilled to see Leah’s new project succeed as we have long enjoyed her other endeavors: Delyte’s Catering and Temecula Valley Slow Food.
Since proceeds from the festival went to benefit Slow Food, the entire event focused on organic and locally produced ingredients. Slow Food is a “nonprofit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions, encourage knowing where food is grown, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” Temecula Valley Slow Food brings gardens to local schools to teach children about where real food comes from and how eating real food can best nurture their bodies.
Next up for E.A.T. Marketplace will be Supper Club with Middle Ridge Winery on Thursday, November 18th, catering Thanksgiving dinner for clients (to order, see the menu at www.delytes.com) and the Black Market Brewmaster Dinner on December 11th. As the Slow Food movement grows, we look forward to many more opportunities to sample locally made, real food accompanied by some of the best beer and wine that the valley has to offer.