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|I’ve been traveling—Asheville, NC, Japan, and Italy. I’m home now reflecting on the memories and experiences which, of course, includes a lot of great food and great people.
In many ways Japan is like going home for me. It has my heart. I first went in my twenties wide-eyed, scared, thrilled, completely unprepared but open for a great adventure. I stayed for 10 years. To return to Japan so many years later to lead a group of well seasoned travelers was an unexpected opportunity to review my past, reflect on my present life, and to reconfirm what I value and hold dear … but much of that is another story.
This part of the story is about food and how it nourishes our bodies, minds and souls if we slow down enough to pay attention. It’s also about kindness, the old-fashion way of honoring others.
OTOT’s pilot trip to Tuscany was amazing beyond my wildest dreams. Ann Marie Packard of Dolce Vita Retreats opened doors to families, experiences, food, wine and olive oil that have seared my memory with overwhelming joy and deliciousness. I can hardly wait to return next year. Plan to join us!
Japan and Italy are culturally opposite in so many ways but what I delightfully discovered were the similarities. Family comes first. Food is a close second that brings families and friends together. There was such an appreciation of each dish; the beauty and care that went into preparation and plating, the importance of knowing the source, and the time spent enjoying the meal. We often spent hours over lunch or dinner admiring each dish as it was served and savored separately.
One meal in Japan in Otsumago on the Nakasendo trail was with a farming family who proudly informed us that the eggs, the fish, the vegetables were all grown and raised by them and the unfiltered ‘sake’ was made by the father. In Italy, we asked where the zucchini flowers that we stuffed with fresh ricotta, parsley, olive oil and lemon came from, the answer was simply, “the garden.” We laughed, “But of course!”
When we returned to San Francisco, I was immediately hit with the fast pace of life here in the Bay Area with cars zooming past us on highway 101 as we headed home. I felt like I was moving in slow motion.
Then I thought of food and how our meals are so often neglected, plates piled high, often eaten on the run. Are we present with what we nourish our bodies with? Do we know where the ingredients come from? Do we appreciate who made it? Do we share it? Do we savor each bite? Are we grateful?
It made me think again about my “why” for owning Olive This Olive That. What is the soul of my business? The answer is simple: I want everyone to be a bit happier. To connect to each other via food. To have access to fresh healthy, locally sourced olive oil so that they can create dishes for themselves and families that nourish the body, mind and soul. To be less stressed and more joyful. To think of the impact of our actions on others.
I’m so grateful for the opportunities to travel and be reminded of the importance of noticing (which means being a little more still), connecting with people, honoring friends and family and, most importantly, to share food lovingly grown and prepared.
There is much to celebrate this month: the changing season, fathers, PRIDE, and OTOT’s 7th anniversary in Noe Valley!
Anniversary Party & Open House
Father’s Day: Sunday, June 16th
I had the pleasure of traveling to Italy with my Dad. The last time we traveled together, I had just graduated from college. Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure how it’d go and it was wonderful. What a gift to be able to share this time and experience with him. Wishing all Fathers, daughters, and sons, a very happy Father’s Day.
This Week’s Anniversary Special
25% off selected balsamic vinegars
This week we’re offering 25% off selected balsamic vinegars great for the grill!
In store and online (use code bbq25)
Come by the shop and check out our grilling baskets,
they makes a great gift for the chef in your life.
We’ll be raffling a grill wok and utensils at our Anniversary Open House!
Upcoming Wine & Olive Oil Tasting
Thursday, June 27th 6:30-8pm
Join us for a wine and olive oil tasting comparing Italian and California grown Sangiovese wine and Tuscan olive oil inspired by our recent trip to Cortona.
In Italy, the picturesque Tuscan landscape is filled with gorgeous vineyards and olive orchards. We spent our days learning about Chianti Classico and Sangiovese grapes, cooking typical Tuscan meals with olive oil. I managed to bring home a suitcase full of olive oil!
In California, Carol Cunningham of Manzanita Grove Wine is one of the few Sangiovese growers. Tuscan olive varietals are some of the more popular trees planted in California producing lovely Tuscan blend olive oil. This tasting will compare and contrast the differences of the same wine and olive varietals.