Mar 30, 2010

Olive Oil Tastings and Olive Trees

This past Friday night, while sitting on the couch unwinding from his long day of work and looking ahead at a weekend with no plans for the first time in a while, Cameron says to me "Let's go somewhere and do something tomorrow."

I sat there for a minute and then suggested Olive Oil tasting. We've had Olive Oil Tasting in Napa or Sonoma in our minds for a while now, as we wanted to go see the trees and talk to some people about growth and care of them. We want to plant a non-fruiting Olive Tree in our backyard sometime soon, but everyone keeps telling us how huge they get and that they still cause allergies even if they aren't the fruiting kind. Well, Cameron was on board. Why not go to Sonoma or Napa when the weather is expected to be beautiful. So I did some quick research online and in no time had a few winery names listed that also offer Olive Oil tasting. Saturday morning we got up and out of the house by 9 AM.

First stop, BR Cohn. Beautiful winery with a separate building dedicated to Gourmet food tasting. There we learned that they prune the trees to keep them at the right fruit-picking height and that pruning can be done in the spring or fall.

Next, we headed to Viansa Winery. They had quite a collection on olive oils and other gourmet foods to sample as well as premade lunches for purchase. All the tasting we were sampling was making us hungry, plus the back porch of the winery looked out over a wetlands preserve. We couldn't resist the sampler with salami, brie cheese, a second type of cheese, gorgeous red grapes and spiced olives. We made a nice little lunch of it out there in the nice spring air. We also noticed that these olive trees had been allowed to grow differently than BR Cohns.

We had planned to only go to these two places, but on our way to Viansa, we passed another winery that offered complimentary Olive Oil tasting and since with was on our way back home, figured it couldn't hurt to stop. We again noticed the Olive Trees looked differently at Jacuzzi than Viansa or BR Cohn. So we've concluded its all in the pruning on how big you want your olive trees to get. Jacuzzi housed a company called The Olive Press and we had quite the tasting of Olive Oil there. The lady behind the counter kept suggesting ways to mix the oils and some other samplers of theirs to try as dips and salad dressings. This was definitely what we had in mind when we set out to go tastings - it was much like a wine tasting.

We definitely came home with a bounty of goods and need to start making some salads to complement the oils we walked away with, as well as have baguettes on hand for some good dipping. The best was just spending some quality time with my sweetie. We used to do things like this more often when it was just the two of us in the Bay Area. Soon it will be us 3 and while we won't be able to be spontaneous like we used, we could also see ourselves packing London up in the car and going for day trips around the area once she's a little older. She will definitely be introduced to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium when we know she can handle the drive. That was our backup plan for Saturday.

Exciting times are definitely upon us with London's arrival coming up fast.Two weekends ago was the Baby Shower. Vicki and Pua threw it for me and the day was perfect - good friends, food and times. London is definitely going to be one well dressed baby girl and is already well loved. My parents came in for a long weekend for the event, which was great as I hadn't seen them since Christmas. I've definitely grown since then. Unfortunately, a trip to the DMV the Wednesday before the shower resulted in me catching a head cold and last week was spent recovering and putting away as much of London's things as I could. We still have some items to purchase and I need some closet organizing pieces to completely put away all her soft, beautiful blankets.

Our baby classes started last night. The 6-week course held every Monday is designed to help us get ready for the labor and delivery. Most of the other expectant parents are due within a week of our due date and delivering at the same hospital. We also actually know one couple a little from our college days - Cameron worked with the mother at Best Buy and she and I had communications classes together. Small world! We are pretty sure when the time comes there is a good chance we'll know another mother or two delivering at the same time. All in all, it seems like a nice group and could result in some great play date friends. There was one couple that everyone found to be a little too undereducated - it was as if they had not picked up and read one pregnancy book in the last 7 months, nor looked at any prenatal care information. They didn't know that you're not supposed to sleep on your back after the first trimester and that sitting in a spa wasn't good for mom or baby, either. I do fear some for their child. Hopefully this class gets them to start doing some reading after the class is over, because it was also obvious they also didn't talk about pregnancy or babies with their family. Definitely not my way of doing things. Luckily, my dad's shower gift to me was a book called Baby 411. I've been reading a chapter a day and have already learned a lot and have pages I want to bookmark to re-read or quickly refer to when London arrives.

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