Life is a dance between observation and participation. Making choices from information we've gleaned and the experiences we've lived all determine that decisive moment for grand and monumental decisions like marriage, children, college, etc. down to what appears to be simple choices like ... what goes in the grocery basket, selections from a menu and quite possibly determining good (and real) extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). In the end, it's not all that simple ... or is it? The photo on the left, of the beautiful chicken salad was an easy choice at lunch the other day while dining at a casual trattoria we frequent in Porto San Giorgio .... instinctively I knew what I needed and wanted. But I also knew through my experience that the ingredients were top quality. It was the perfect lunch of five ingredients: grilled chicken, arugula, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, cherry tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil (topped with a touch a sea salt). Then of course there are the larger decisions such as living in a foreign country, starting an export business, getting off the crazy carousel of day to day commercialism, and now raising our children amongst cultural diversity. These grand decisions have heightened awareness in our family to utilize our observation and participation skills keenly everyday. As I write today's blog, I have already weeded through numerous articles that have popped up on social news feeds and magazine headlines on how to make your life less stressed, how to lose weight, or how to live a long and healthy life. But it seems like it's a tough dance to follow when competition is a driving component in our American culture and we are constantly being sold health with a quick fix.
So here we are, living in the region of Le Marche, Italy in an environment that is "piu tranquillo" (literal translation ... more tranquil) and this region holds the record throughout all of Europe of people living beyond 100 years old, 507 to be exact. When we decided to live here, did we know intuitively that this little zone would bring us greater opportunity for a healthier life? Our instincts must have told us something. The clean, fresh sea air free of pollution; the locally grown food in the same organic soil; a small but active and vibrant community of educated and creative residents are contributors to a well rounded, healthy life. The pace of everyday life is certainly different here and as we look out the window of our office at the newly refurbished door of our neighboring 900 year old church, it doesn't really feel like work.
Originally, when we fell in love with Torre di Palme, it was merely a place to rest, collect our energy to tackle the world, see things from a different perspective and to dream of a life less frenetic. Our quick vacations turned into a six-month sabbatical, and now has turned into nearly two years of staying in Italy. Launching a business was never the plan, but through observation and participation in our Italian community and knowing the American food and wine industry, it presented opportunity. We became passionate about educating Americans about true, quality extra virgin olive oil as the thought raced through my mind "how in the world am I ever going to go back to mediocre EVOO." I told Michel I needed a direct pipeline to the source and he concurred completely, thus the creation of Casal Cristiana Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
to promote and share with our American friends, family and clients. Real extra virgin olive oil is a condiment every kitchen should have to support flavorful, creative and healthy cooking.
The powerful anti-oxidants found in true EVOO help ward off numerous diseases, contributing to a longer life when combined with other healthy lifestyle activities. Sharing this olive oil, this elixir of health, is like sharing a sliver of our life and our love for something wonderful. We are inspired to present a quality product and believe that if we can all incorporate small changes in our lives, then maybe we will live a long and healthy life like the Marchigiani, whom consume large of amounts of EVOO. As we observe the Italian life, everyday .... not the tourist show, but the real daily activity that occurs, propelled by centuries of tradition, we find ourselves closer to nature, appreciating friendships (American and Italian), moving with the rhythm of seasons and piecing together the components which bring balance to our new and uncharted life. For the time being we have abandoned long commutes, the ability to shop nearly 24/7, find any type of food from any season at the supermarket and follow a jam packed schedule of meetings and obligations. Our days are very full as we are straddling two continents with heart and soul everyday. So while the daily activity is "piu tranquillo", it simply has a different beat and we continue to follow the advice of our friends ... "La vita é breve, mangia bene" ..... Life is short, eat well. In Le Marche, Italy, with the most people living past 100 years old in all of Europe, these Italians must be on to something.