Sunday, July 13, 2014



Y'all know how I love to go wine tasting... well recently I went olive oil tasting.  Like the fine wineries I have been to all over California, with great tasting rooms amidst the vineyards, olive oil tasting at Omaggio Farm and Regalo Estate offers the same lovely experience without the need for a designated driver.

As we drove down the driveway through an olive orchard, past the stunning estate villa to the tasting room, it brought back memories of Richard's and my trip to Italy and the Italian countryside, especially when we stepped out of the car and walked toward the beautiful sun-dappled, Tuscan-designed tasting room exterior...

We were greeted by the knowledgeable and welcoming manager, Carolina Gramm...

... and were first escorted into a room that houses the press and machinery used to make Regalo's pesticide-free, artisan EVOO.  

Carolina explained how the olives from more than 2,000 trees on the farm are all handpicked, how the olives are processed, and that the oil not used for their artisan EVOO, is re-purposed for other uses, such as bio fuel and soap.

soap oil
Carolina then took us into the lovely appointed tasting room...

... where we tasted five oils...


 ...all unique, with a clean, fresh taste.  

We started with a delicate Spanish EVOO which won best in show at the Los Angeles olive oil competition.  It certainly was delicate!

We dipped our bread into the Tuscan, Proprietary, Basil, and Chive EVOO, all delicious and filled with taste nuances.  Last, but not least, we revisited the Proprietary EVOO paired with a ten year old balsamic vinegar.  An exquisite combination of flavors.

Also for our tasting pleasure was a variety of imported Italian balsamic vinegars.

I loved the pear and cranberry vinegar so much I had to buy a bottle, but it didn't keep me from checking out all the different oils, vinegars and a selection of dishes and glassware on display. I wanted to buy everything!!

If you're in Ojai, California and want a delicious tasting experience, I hope you'll visit the Regalo tasting room.  But, even if you're on the other side of the country, you can join their member's club, Amici di Regalo, for subscription deliveries, special limited edition offerings, and news of upcoming members' events.  Just go to their website for all the info about joining or for just buying a bottle or two.

Note:  a portion of all Regalo profits are donated to poverty relief charities.  "Changing the world, one olive at a time."

Omaggio Farm
283 Carne Road
Ojai, California 93023

Because Omaggio and Regalo Estate is family owned and also a private residence, the Tasting Room is only open on:
Saturdays from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Sundays from 12:00pm to 5:00pm

Wednesday, July 2, 2014



I'm a city girl.  I grew up in Bayside, Queens, part of NYC - I went to college in Boston, certainly not a small town... lived in Chicago for a brief time... and spent many years living and working in Manhattan with its 8 million stories of which I was one.  Then, like the Brooklyn Dodgers before me, I migrated to Los Angeles, the city of 11 million angels.

As some of you know, last August, Richard and I left big city life behind - the skyscrapers of New York and the LA movie/tv studios and Hollywood sign and moved to the town of Ojai in the Ojai valley - population 8,000!  (Really?!  My high school in the '60's had a population of 6,000!)

No more hustle and bustle on the city streets of Manhattan.  No more bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405.  We were in Oz where orange groves were a few steps from "Main" street and the mountains turned technicolor pink at sunset.

And, just this past weekend the town held its annual Lavender Festival. 

Yup, we even have lavender farms a la Provence.

And while meandering through the booths...

.. we heard that one of the lavender farms in upper Ojai was open for Oz-ites and friends to visit and pick some fresh lavender.

We had never been to a lavender farm before, so we drove up the winding road, parked our car on Sulphur Mountain Road and walked the short distance to Frog Creek Farms past corralled horses...

... and a sunflower garden. 

When we reached the organic lavender field, we grabbed a pair of scissors the farm provided and cut away, concentrating on the Provencal lavender you can use for cooking, baking or infusing in vodka (so delish).

When we finished we went inside the little building on the property to pay for our sprigs...

... and found a charming store...

... that Christel Rogero, one of the owners of Frog Creek, has filled w/ all sorts of  lavender sachets, salts, wreaths, bundles and other wonderful sundries (I just love that word) made on the farm.  The aroma was intoxicating.  (Hey, I'm still a fan of Yardley's English Lavender soap that my mom used all her life.)

Frog Creek Farms will be open for the next 2-1/2 weeks, so if you live in Oz or plan to visit soon, take the scenic drive to upper-Ojai and visit the farm and Christel's little store... cut some fresh lavender... and take in the view as you sit under a tree and marvel at nature's beauty.

Christel Rogero
Frog Creek Farms
10924 Ojai-Santa Paula Road
(off Sulphur Mountain Rd.)
Ojai, Calif.  93023