Thursday, November 17, 2005

Olive Oil

It was the perfect excuse for getting up into the Napa Valley in autumn. A trip to the Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufactory on Charter Oak Avenue in St. Helena was a wonderful idea. We went on a San Pablo City Recreation Department Bus, an inexpensive way to go out as a group and have fun.

The day was absolutely gorgeous. I love the Napa Valley in the fall, with the wonderful yellow green of the vineyards, the multi-colored trees against the dark evergreens, and all of this between two ranges of mauve and blue hills or mountains. Add a large sprinkling of impressive wineries, old and new, accent with flowers, and you spend all of your time looking from one side of the road to the other, trying to take it all in.

The Olive Oil Factory is located in a barn, with the sales area in a couple of very cozy (small) rooms. The rooms may be small, but the selection of delicacies is large and quite impressive. We didn’t spend long there, but if we had, I would have spent a lot of money.

I did purchase a half-gallon jug of olive oil, which I used as soon as I returned home, a large bottle of blackberry syrup for my tea, and a jar of Napa Valley Mustard Co. orange and ginger honey mustard. The blackberry syrup is great, but I haven’t tried the mustard yet.

My idea of a good time doesn’t quite match that of the rest of the seniors. They like to shop in a Ben Franklin, plus the obligatory WalMart on the way home, but they don’t seem to show much interest in walking around a wonderful historic downtown area, checking out the shops and cafes and admiring the buildings. I would have much preferred that. At least we drove through town on our way to Freemark Abbey, a winery which is pretty but not all that exciting. There are others that have genuinely interesting products in their stores, and are situated on hills with fabulous views. I have visited some of them in the past, although I am unable to drink the wine. Chris and Becky have taken me to such places.

The day was very warm, the sun dappled autumn leaves above and underfoot reminding me of wonderful fall days in my past. All of your senses feel alive at a time like this. I wish all of my relatives could visit the Napa Valley. It reminds me of “home”, minus the lakes, and I have particular family members in mind that I know would absolutely love to tour this area.


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