This summer marks two years living in Italy and this July is the First Year Anniversary for Casal Cristiana Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (CCEVOO)! The above photo is the view from our first Italian home, where we drew inspiration for our olive oil project. We embarked upon our new venture with enthusiasm, aiming to share our love of real extra virgin olive oil and to bring the Ponzi Italian-American connection full circle. We made our announcement while traveling through the region of Umbria to take the edge off of our nervous anticipation. Would anyone care about our new project?
We took repose in a small and quaint, family-operated hotel. It was nothing fancy, but it had a really pretty olive grove situated on the property and in the far distance you could see Assisi. We enjoyed our Umbrian meal from the restaurant's patio and watched the trickle of emails that came back in response to our announcement. We were encouraged by kind words and were especially appreciative when those responses turned into orders. After dinner, we strolled through the olive grove, dusk was falling and it was a perfect night. The sky was violet and pink from the setting sun, the shadows outlined the olive trees and their slim branches were swaying in a gentle breeze as if they were conducting a silent orchestra. It was a great moment and I didn't have a device to take a photo, so I try to keep it alive in my mind.
Many months before we committed our days to writing our story, creating a website, designing packaging .... coordinating it all in Italian, with our Italian colleagues. It was great fun to expand our vocabulary and see our project come to life! So here we are, a year later, older and wiser, but energized by the fact that extra virgin olive oil continues to gain ground with consumers and has become a hot topic in the culinary world.
The year zoomed by as we participated in our first harvest, bottling and shipment to the United States. We had a great turnout to our Launch Party at Michel's Oregon winery, Ponzi Vineyards, in January. We moved residences in Italy and now have a small olive grove of our own to cultivate and learn from. At the first of July I joined the board of directors for the World Food Travel Association
and am thrilled to be personally linked to connections all over the globe who are like-minded about sharing food, travel and culture. Retail interest for CCEVOO continues to trend upward, online orders keep coming and we are returning this week to Oregon to conduct olive oil education and expand point of purchase opportunities! As we head west to see friends, family and fans at our upcoming events, we invite you to take a look at your calendar to join us in celebration and evoo education!
From the Balcony of the Adriatic to the Heart of Oregon Wine Country, Join us on Saturday, August 2nd, from 7 - 10 at The Dundee Bistro for our 1st Year Anniversary Celebration Dinner.
A multi-course dinner, paired with Ponzi family wines and CCEVOO will be showcased with Oregon's summer season -- straight from the garden from The Dundee Bistro and neighboring farms. $85 per person, go to our website, www.casalcristiana.com
to purchase tickets prior to the event. Join us for Vino e Olio
! Stop in at Barrel Fine Wine+Tasting Bar on Cornell Road on Friday, July 25th. Wine tasting will be five wines for $8 and we will be on hand to offer samples of CCEVOO, special price purchases and a short presentation at 6:00. On Friday, August 15th, you will find us in Sherwood at the Italian Portland Ferragosto
! An event designed for the whole family. Lastly, there are lots of people who have been so supportive this last year and ALL of our Founding Members deserve a huge thank you. I want to single out my dear friend, Allison, who not only ordered within minutes we went "live" but has continued to re-order and has been a wonderful ambassador for CCEVOO.
Deep gratitude also goes to my twin sister, Brenda, (pictured with me at Castello di Rancia in Le Marche, Italy), who is our stateside representative, warehouse manager, public relations cheerleader and all around fantastic person! She does it all with a happy heart. Thank you to our customers who have sent us photos of CCEVOO to use on Facebook, those images have been invaluable and we want to continue to see how you are using our olive oil. Share your recipes and photos! The joy of good food is so much better when shared in good company "La vita é breve, mangia bene! --- Life is short, eat well!"