farm to fork dining sacramento valley

A Lesson in Olive Oil

26 October

Little fun fact about me: I’m very passionate about olive oil.  You could say it’s the Italian in me.  Right up there with homemade pasta (preferably my Nana’s)… mmm!  And the two together with a little parmesan cheese–does it get any better?  Ah but back to really good olive oil!–it just makes everything better.  You’d think that with this passion would come a little more consumer knowledge, however it wasn’t until just last week when Cobram Estate invited a group of us out to their olive orchards right here in the Sacramento Valley that I gained a better understanding of the process, the industry, and what I’ve been buying.

 Whenever traveling through Europe and dining with our Italian cousins in Italy, I’m always amazed at how deliciously fresh the olive oil tastes.  But upon returning home I have a hard time finding that same quality here.  Maybe I wasn’t an educated consumer before, but I mainly shop for my oils at speciality grocery stores, always choose made in Italy, always choose Extra Virgin (beware of Extra Virgin Light which has nothing to do with less calories) and opt for the most expensive… because that has to be the best right?  Turns out most of the imported olive oils we’re likely buying at the grocery store have been adulterated in some way, lacking the taste and health benefits you think it has.

fall farm-to-fork dining with cobram

Cobram (originally started in Australia) was founded by two farmers with a shared obsession to bring terrific olive oil back to the people.  Now harvesting on both sides of the hemispheres means they can get the freshest olive oil possible to us!  Pretty cool that they’re based here locally now.

olive oil tasting with cobram estates

We began our day at the Cobram Estate’s plant and orchards to learn about the process of making really great Extra Virgin olive oil and then spent the rest of the afternoon / evening eating the most unique and delicious meal ever!  (Every course enhanced with olive oil, but of course–even our carrot cake dessert!).

olive oil tasting with cobram estatesolive oil tasting with cobram estatesolive oil tasting with cobram estates

Within hours of being picked, only the freshest olives are crushed.

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Kevin, a local Sacramento chef, served us the most unique menu with incredible seasonal flavors.  Everything was made with local ingredients from around the valley.  And while it was hard to choose, my favorite dish was his pumpkin enchiladas (sounds interesting right?).  I might have to try to get Kevin’s phone number so I can get those enchiladas again at some point!

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After indulging (and stuffing this pregger’s belly with as much as I could–running out of room these days!) we made our way over to Park Winters, an adorable gem of a Bed & Breakfast in the area.  Rounding out the day with more olive oil tasting, live music, and late night fire roasted pizza.

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