Author Archives: Brian Ruff

GROWING VALUABLE FOOD

March 24, 2020

Today am sitting at home in the midst of a rainstorm. Yesterday I worked in the yard, pruning, cutting, digging, feeding citrus and planting more seeds. All with the intention of growing food for my family and my Farm.

I have been corresponding with an Italian Physician friend in Vancouver, Canada, and someone who is as passionate as I am about olive oil. He said something so important, “ grow valuable food”. People will need this. He struck an important cord, that in the midst of isolation, I had put aside. I was worried about my family, my staff, and my business. But I am in the business of growing food, good food and we shall continue to do so even in this virus isolation.

My olive trees are growing, buds of olive flower are beginning to appear. Our fruit trees are laden with blossoms. The citrus is prolific and the more we harvest, to make jams and jellies, the more blossoms pop out. We have juiced lemons to prepare for Lavender Lemonade at Lavender Weekend in June. We have frozen Blood Orange Juice for drinks. I still have some pomegranate juice to make jelly and ices for the summer. We have to think ahead, even in the midst of worry.

In the greenhouse, little starts are strong and happy. Peppers, beans, tomatoes and flowers for beauty. Nick, Able and EJ just make everything grow. I have some eggplant starts at home that are just thinking of popping out. Today I sent to the Farm, five 7 foot tall Chayote plants. They were very near to taking over my kitchen. They are for Chayote, apple, and lemon salad this summer.

Early this morning I was reading the Smithsonian Magazine, and National Geographic and in sane times this makes sense but today even more.

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
Maya Angelou

If you are safe at home, take the time for quiet to center your soul. Look forward to better times. Thank the health care staff for being there and for us not being there.

Take pleasure in these pictures that will help us all look forward and grow valuable food for everyone.

Wash your hands stay safe.

I will keep everyone posted on the “growth” at the Farm at IL Fiorello.

Ciao

Ann

 

IRISH SODA BREAD RECIPES , FOLKLORE AND FACTS

Even though IL Fiorello is Italian and makes olive oil, part of my family, on my Mother’s side is Irish, through and through.

My mother believed in the “little people” and I heard a wonderful piece of music on the way home last night, called Ode to the Fairies of Ireland. It brought back lots of memories. Oh yes and her favorite song was, “Oh Danny Boy” where she would sign along and cry. She also always said that the best Irish party was a good old fashioned Irish wake. And in my experience that is so very true. A time to celebrate.

I was always told that the cross on the top of Irish Soda Bread was to symbolize the Catholic faith of Ireland, and the Gaelic Cross. Some say it kept the Devil out, but that is what a cross is supposed to do also.

Turns out that is true but more importantly, it helps in the baking of the bread. On St. Patrick’s Day we always had brown soda bread and Irish Stew, either lamb or beef or better yet a combination. My Mother said, “Potatoes and point “ meaning that they only had potatoes and no meat, so they pointed to the place where the meat was supposed to be. Hard times indeed. It makes this time of plenty look pretty good, even with COVID –19.

   

 

The shape and the content of the soda bread, is indicative of where you live in Ireland. Also whether you bake or pan fry the bread. I have always baked my soda bread, but maybe it is time to try to fry the bread. My Italian father (and me) loved fried yeast bread, but that will be another delicious blog. The difference of white bread vs brown bread may have had to do with affluence, brown being the coarser bread, and white being the more refined. I bake with half and half, white and brown flour. I have heard that the foam on top of your pint of beer is an excellent leavening agent because of the yeast and sugars in the beer. I truly would rather drink my beer and use baking soda, for the bread, but again maybe it is time to try something new.
There is a new web site, www.TheSocietyofthePreservationofIrishSodaBread.com that is kind of a fun read.

———————————

IRISH SODA BREAD

2 CUPS UNSIFTED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
2 CUPS  WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
4 TABLESPOONS SUGAR
4 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA
1 TEASPOON SALT
6 TABLESPOONS BUTTER SOFTENED
2 CUPS BUTTERMILK

PREHEAT OVER TO 375  ° F

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.
Cut in softened butter until mixture looks like fine crumbs.
Add buttermilk.
Mix until all dry ingredients are moistened.
Turn out on lightly floured pastry board.
Knead gently until smooth.
Shape into a ball.
Place on silpat  on a cookie sheet.
Press a large floured knife into center of loaf almost through to bottom.
Repeat at right angle to divide loaf into quarters.
Bake 40 minutes until top is golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove to wire rack to cool.
Brush top with milted butter.

Makes 2 loafs

Optional: Cranberries  or Raisins
Soak 1 ½ cups raisins in Irish Whiskey and combine into dough, during the kneading.

—————————

Use the traditional three leaf clover for St. Patrick’s day. It represents the holy trinity and the number three is special in Ireland. Number “3” is also present on other Celtic Symbols such as the “Triskelion”, the “Triquetra” , The “Three Rays” of the Druidic Symbol, This symbol a triad or trinity. It is a symbol of the unity of body, mind and spirit.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

ENJOY THE IRISH SODA BREAD

AND

REMEMBER WASH YOUR HANDS

CIAO,

ANN

 

PI DAY RECIPE FROM IL FIORELLO

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TART WITH ST. GEORGE’S RASPBERRY LIQUOR

I had a fantastic visit and tasting at St. George’s Distillery in Alameda. Their delicious Raspberry Liquor was the impetus for my Pi Day entry at IL Fiorello. So I wanted to share it with all of you.

The day started well , with all four of us well fortified with a great lunch by Scolari’s At The Point. A great eatery situated right on San Francisco bay, with lovely views of the city scape of San Francisco. We had a lovely time, and the garlic fries hit the spot. Mark and I, Chef Glo and Marlon, her wonderful husband, sat in the sunshine and relaxed. A real treat for the four of us together. We then trooped over to St. Georges Distillery.

We were greeted at the door, like old friends, and directed to the bar. Our hostess did a very good job discussing the products, the uses of their products and the flavor profiles. Well done! As someone who is very critical of presentations I would go back tomorrow. I would really recommend the tasting and the tour, which Chef Glo has done but we did not have time for on this visit.

The Raspberry Liquor was the inspiration to take a great recipe from www.finecooking.com, adapt it to my way of baking, and then push it over the top with the liquor. I hope you enjoy this as much as our staff did at the IL Fiorello Pi Day extravaganza.

Raspberry-Chocolate Tart with St. George’s Raspberry Liquor

Ingredients

Vegetable oil for the pan
40– 50 gingersnaps (1 1/2 cups finely ground)
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
4 cups fresh raspberries
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
(I used half and half because I did not want to go to the store again)
St. George’s raspberry liquor (5 tablespoons in all)
2 tablespoons for the crust
2 tablespoons for the ganache
1 tablespoon for the puree berries
Pinch of salt

Method

Prepare all the ingredients.
Heat the oven to 325 ° F with a rack in the middle of the oven
Oil the sides and bottom of a 9 1/2 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.

  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Grind the gingersnaps until very fine. Use a food processor for best results.
  3. Add the melted butter and 2 tbsp. of the liquor to the crushed gingersnaps and combine well.
  4. Press the ginger snap mixture into the sides and bottom of the oiled tart pan.
  5. Set the pan on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to chill and firm up.
  6. Bake the tart crust on the baking sheet until fragrant about 15 minutes.
  7. Cool the crust.
  8. Meanwhile, pass 1 cup of the berries through a food mill fitted with a fine disk or force them through a fine sieve, mashing with a wooden spoon.
  9. Transfer into a medium bowl.
  10. You should have about 1/2 cup of the puree.
  11. Add 1 tablespoon of the liquor to the berries and discard the seeds. 
  12. Set aside.

GANACHE

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat the cream until just boiling.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate.
  4. Wisk to blend.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of the St. George’s Raspberry Liquor.
  6. Wisk again to blend.
  7. Stir in the Raspberry Puree.
  8. Add the salt.

Finishing

  1. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart shell
  2. Refrigerate until the ganache is fairly firm. About one hour
  3. Arrange the remaining raspberries on the top

Liberally adapted from www.finecooking.com with great thanks and respect.

Raspberry Tart

Raspberry Liquor from St. Georges Distilling in Alameda

Raspberry Liquor

FOOD AS THE BEST MEDICINE

March 2020

In the Spring all thoughts turn to green: green trees, green grass, weeds, and green vegetables. This picture says it all. Eat well and be well. Your Pharmacy is your grocery store and your garden. Get out in the fresh air, take a walk. Watch less television and most definitely less computer/phone time.

We grow vegetables in our garden to sustain our kitchen. Eat well and be well. Our chickens give us eggs and friendship. Get out of the house. My Irish Grandmother said, “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” I guess that is the same as, “Thou art dust”. So stop dusting and get outside and dig in the dirt.

At our Farm, the radishes are coming up. Delicious little green bites to put into salads. A harbinger of roasted radishes to come on our tasting plates. The fava beans are planted. And, a garden miracle, our sunflowers are not only sprouting but blooming. They are in a little protected spot, but this is way too early for them to be awake.

The fig tree tips are swelling and turning green, a clear sign of Spring.
I have spring fever and a longing for green things from the garden.

Here is some direction from the US FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION with a little license of my own words from the Farm at IL Fiorello.

  1. BUY FOOD WITH THOUGHT—NOT PREPACKAGED
  2. COOK FOOD WITH CARE
  3. USE MORE VEGETABLES AND WHOLE GRAINS AND BEANS
  4. USE LESS MEAT AND LESS ANIMAL FATS
  5. BUY LOCAL FOODS—ORGANIC AND SUSTAINABLE
  6. SERVE ENOUGH—SUSTAIN YOUR LIFE
  7. USE WHAT IS LEFT
  8. DO NOT WASTE FOODS
  9. ENJOY FOOD AND FAMILY

REF: MENUS OF CHANGE HARVARD MED AND CIA

John Stanton, PhD, is a professor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, he says that “ taste is the leading reason to buy food.” So buy food that tastes good and is healthy! Enjoy the family meal together. Family and good food is important.

In a review article, Mary Stanton PhD and Selina Wang PhD, looked at the literature on Olive Oil as medicine. (Published by UC Davis Olive Center 2015). The review suggested that the use of two tablespoons of olive oil may lower blood pressure. My addition is always use certified extra virgin olive oil and with healthy food and together this may lower blood pressure.

These are the basic tenets of the Mediterranean diet; healthy food, exercise, and extra virgin olive oil. This premise is supported by more and more research. Something we have known for many thousands of years. Farm to table has been around for a very long time. It is good that we are recognizing the importance of food as medicine.

In practicality good healthy food is good medicine. Now add your family and friends and you have a winning combination.

Eat from the garden, eat from the soil, plant based consumption is a goal for us all.

Hippocrates (born c. 460 bce, died c. 375 bce)
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food.”

Ciao,
Ann

 

Sunflowers and Nasturtiums in March
Our Farm is Blooming with edible flowers and plants

Flowers

CHAYOTE SPROUTS—HARDLY SPROUTS
WE CAN SEE THEM GROWING EVERY HOUR
WAITING FOR WARM WEATHER TO PLANT
USE IN SALADS AND STEWS

Chayote

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL PICTURE FROM AN ITALIAN BLOG
FARMACIA IN ITALIAN IS PHARMACY
EAT YOUR VEGETABLES, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS

Farmacia

 

EVERYBODY, IT IS TIME TO PRUNE THE OLIVES AND DO IT SOON

March 2020

It is time again to prune the olives – but didn’t I just do that. A whole year has passed so quickly.

Italian Proverb

“Prune each tree so a swallow can fly through the tree without touching its wings.”

Get those shears sharpened. Clean the blades, Grab a good hat, a flexible pair of gloves, and solid and supportive work shoes.

Don’t forget the huge flask of water.

Go to work –and hard work it is but really good work.

2016 was a good fruit set year and we pruned

2017 was bad – devastating fruit set year and we pruned

2018 was a great fruit set year and we pruned

2019 was a good set year and we are pruning right now.

Get my drift?  We prune every year.

Some thoughts on pruning.

  • Never prune more than 1/3 of the tree. Each year is different so prune to the blossom set of the previous year. Heavy set prune heavy, light set prune light.  We understand that olives are on a cyclical production cycle so pruning should follow that pattern.
  • Cut out the dead wood in the center of the tree, to open up the canopy to provide light and air to the center of the tree. To encourage the tree to grow, add compost, fertilizer and water. Watch the trees respond with healthy growth. Prune Olive trees each year to direct growth.
  • Prune to a vase or goblet shape. Use central cuts smf lateral cuts, remove suckers, clean the trunks, and lift the skirts. No branches should touch the ground. Top heading for full canopy growth.
  • Use sharp instruments to make clean cuts. Clean your shears daily to prevent transmission of bacteria.  Make your cuts on an angel so if it does happen to rain, no water will accumulate on the cut surfaces.
  • Put up bird boxes so the birds can enjoy your grove and help with the bugs.
  • Pruning is an art. Practice makes perfect. Olive trees are tough and they respond well to care.

Get out there and prune – don’t put it off if you want a better and easier harvest in the Fall.

One tree at a time. Talk to your trees, sing to your trees. Help them grow and thrive. You will be a better grower if you smile in your olive grove.

Get going and remember there is another pruning year next year. Do your best this year and next year will be easier and better.

Ciao,

Ann

Pruning Olive Trees

 

 

30 Minute Mole

30 Minute Mole

INGREDIENTS
1 kg water
2.25 g Butter
150 g sweet onion, diced
75 g peanuts, shelled
50 g dark chocolate
50 g tomato paste
3 cinnamon sticks
20 g pumpkin seed
20 g Garlic
17 g Salt
CHILI’s dried, seeds removed
15 g Ancho Chili 15 g Pasilla chili
15 g Mulato chili
15 g Guajillo chili
15 g Chipotle Meco chili
15 g Chipotle Morita chili
10 g sesame seed
5 g cumin
4.5 g Oregano fresh
2.5 G Caraway seed
2.5 g Thyme, fresh
1.8 g Mace
0.5 G clove

EQUIPMENT
Pressure cooker
Blender

INSTRUCTIONS
Put all ingredients in pressure cooker
Cook at Full Pressure for 30 minutes
Remove cinnamon sticks and put all contents in blender
Blend until smooth
Serve with Turkey, chicken or pork.

Adapted from Chef’s Steps by Raul Solario, Chef IL Fiorello
SERVICE
Serve with 24 hour sous vide pork shoulder at 140 ° F
Drizzle with IL Fiorello Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

WHAT IS GOOD OIL AND WHAT IS BAD OIL

GOOD OIL CURES ALL and BAD OIL MAKES YOU SICK Italian Proverb

What is good oil? Good oil is fresh, new, well stored, bottled in dark bottles, and is extra virgin certified in California; passing both chemistry and taste panel certification.

What is bad oil? An oil that does not pass the certification standards of California. An oil that is rancid or made from bad olives. A bad oil has additives or is adulterated or has herbs that are years old but still says extra virgin on the label.

The more balanced and pungent the better the oil. Varieties of olives matter but the principles are the same, a balance of aroma, fruit, bitterness and pungency. Good oil is good for your heart and your soul.

Each grower has their own thoughts of how to grow olives. Each miller has their own ideas of how to make olive oil depending on their milling equipment and their experience.

We encourage all of our clients and guests to learn the process of how we make our oils. We like to explain the reasons we do what we do with each batch of olives. Each mill is different and unique; each variety of olive poses questions and issues of how to mill correctly. There are many important decisions, more malaxation, less malaxation, time and temperature. An important reality is that beautiful olives make beautiful oil. The fruit is a key factor. Bring us good olives and we can make good oil.

We are looking back at this last milling season and analyzing our milling data for each customer. Time temperature, variety, quality of the olives at the time of delivery. On delivery, we photograph each batch of olives. We document temperatures at arrival time, and they undergo a visual inspection with a rating scale. This data leads us to conclusions about our techniques of milling and events that influence our milling process. Examples are the power outages, time from harvest, ambient temperatures and variety. We try to associate how these variables reflect in the oils we produce. For our clients and for our own oils for IL Fiorello. There is much to consider. This is not a simple process.

The proof is in the oils, and the celebration of an ancient food. As we taste our own oils, we are making decisions about decanting, filtering (more on this in a later blog), and bottling and submission to competitions.

With the competitions ahead, we taste all of our oils; we review the oils chemistry and the results of the master taste panel. We taste again and then try to make good decisions about what oils to send to what competitions.

However, the real reason is to present to our guests the best oil available and prove, by winning competitions, that we compete well on an international scale.

Certify your oil to prove it is extra virgin, use the oil when it is fresh, store the oil properly.
Most importantly enjoy good oil with good food and good people.

I will be writing next about best-by-dates for food and olive oil and food as medicine and medicine as food.

Stay informed. (See examples below)

Ciao,
Ann

Temperature is  a critical  element in making good oil

Fresh olives on deck waiting to be milled on the day of their harvest.

Beautiful olives make beautiful oil

Bad olives make bad oil

Time and temperature are important in making good olive oil
This picture is the end of our milling season.—hence Final.
Temperature is for making co-milled olive oils at seasons end.

CELEBRATE CITRUS ON THE FARM AT IL FIORELLO

The month of January is a celebration of citrus on our Farm. The cooking class, the tasting plates, and the kitchen is filled with citrus. On our organic farm we have lots of olives, 3000 or more, but we also have 50 citrus trees. There are 16 different varieties. Our goal is to produce enough organic citrus to make our co-milled lemon oils from our own Farm. A bonus is that we get to eat and drink a lot of citrus. So healthy in this cold weather.

The Farm at IL Fiorello is always expanding and the additional citrus is growing and very healthy. Nick and Abel also plated 30 fig trees—a true gift. We will have a lot of figs, and 5 different varieties available in the fall. Look forward to September and our class on figs. Think figs and prosciutto pizza.

The January cooking class highlights not only our citrus co-milled olive oils but on fresh citrus from the Farm. The lemon tart is beyond delicious, but my favorite is the seafood sausage with a mousseline sauce. The candied citrus is quite nice for a treat in the afternoon.

The tasting plates at IL Fiorello follow the seasons on our Farm. This month we feature a Citrus Salad with pistachios and Mission Olive Oil, Lemon and Chicken broth soup with Taggiasca oil, an Olive Oil citrus cake with our co-milled Lemon Oil and to top things off, a palate cleanser of Pomegranate Juice with our Winter Fruit Balsamic Vinegar Reduction (made from our pomegranates and our oranges).

Get more citrus into your diet. Oranges and lemons have an incredible amount of flavor and antioxidants that are beneficial to good health. What is not to love about that? The American Heart Association states that citrus has vitamin A, fiber, potassium, folate, and is heart healthy. Whole fruits are much better than juiced fruits and vegetables.

Making Co-Milled Olive Oils is great fun, a lot of hard work, and very rewarding. The Extra Virgin Olive Oils come first, then we make the co-milled oils. Each year we harvest olives. Order citrus and go to work. The difficulty is making sure that the olives are not frozen, due to frost, and the citrus is ripe. It can be a dicey issue. Each fruit is cut and added to the olives in different proportions each year. You taste the olives you taste the citrus and you make the decision about percentages on the spot. We have been doing this long enough to know how to make it taste great. Our Kaffir Lime won best of Show and Best of Class in both Los Angeles and State competitions. The Eureka Lemon is a favorite in the tasting room.

Enjoy good health. Enjoy the bounty of Citrus.

Ciao, Ann


Citrus dessert Recipe

When you are in a hurry and you need something really great !

A good healthy scoop of Lemon or Orange Gelato or Sorbet

A cup of Mandarin segments

A dash of Winter Fruit Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

A very little (or a lot) of Chocolate shavings

A large spoon and a quiet spot to enjoy deliciousness 

Celebrate Citrus


THE CITRUS FRUITS OF IL FIORELLO

Buddha's HandsValencia Oranges
Navel Oranges
Bouquet de Fleurs
Seville Sour Oranges
Eureka Lemons
Variegated Lemons
Meyer Lemons
Genoa Lemons
Santa Teresa lemons
Oro Blanco Grapefruit
Pink Grapefruit
Pomelo
Kumquat
Calamancoes
Rangpur Limes
Fingerling Limes
Buddha’s Hand 

AND THEN YOU EAT THEM ALL TOGETHER

Citrus Plate

 

FIGS GLORIOUS FIGS

NEVER ENOUGH FOR THOSE WHO LOVE FIGS

ENDLESS RECIPES TO ENJOY THE FALL ABUNDANCE  

I have had many requests for some fantastic delicious and easy ways to preserve and present figs. 

We have 18 fig trees at IL Fiorello. Soon we will be known for figs as well as olives!! We grow a variety of types of figs, Panache, striped green and white, Kadota, creamy white, Mission, large and purple, and Violette, a French variety slightly purple, and Brown Turkey.

2 mission figs -one ripe & one unripe

Mission Figs

Panache figs

Another Panache fig

I always have to protect the figs from our chickens and from the blue jays. I also have a fox family who trains their kits to climb the tree and steal my figs.  Cute, but not so great when you want to grow and make fig everything.  As a concession, they get the bottom and I get the top of the trees.  This morning I found a lovely lady deer bedded down under the canopy of the fig tree. Everyone needs a home.

I have some great recipes for you.  The first recipe is for Francesca’s Figs published by Judy Witt Francini, Davina Cucina. The best Italian blog, web site and food tours.   You can find her at https://divinacucina.com Many more great recipes and travel tips on her blog. If you go to Italy, make sure you take one of her cooking classes.

FIRST *  FRANCESCA’S FIGS

Begin with fresh figs right from the tree. The black figs are Mission and the light colored ones are Kadota. You can use just the mission, or just the kadota or a mixture.

2 kinds of ripe figs

 Then cover with an equal amount of sugar.

sugar on top of figs

Then a layer of very thinly sliced lemons.

sliced lemons on top of sugar and figs

 I happen to like a lot of lemons as it pairs better with the sugar and the figs.

figs & lemons in conserve jars

SECOND * DEHYDRATED FIGS

An alternative to poaching the figs is to dry them in the dehydrator. Dehydrate them whole or sliced.

You can then incorporate the dried figs on charcuterie boards, breads, and make great jams later on in the season. I like fig breads.

THIRD   * FIG AND LEMON JAM

I love to make fig and lemon jam.

Equal weights of figs and thinly sliced lemons.

 NO sugar.

 Cook the lemons strips until translucent add the figs and heat to just boiling.

Remove from heat, put in hot jam jars seal, and water bath for 10 minutes.

My best and most favorite jam.

Serve this jam on the best vanilla ice cream or even better on our Olive Oil Gelato.

A clear winner.

fig and lemon jar in open jars

FOURTH * FIGS AND BACON

Wrap fresh figs in smoked bacon strips and grill.

Nothing better.

Sweet and savory.

FIFTH * FIG IN RED WINE

Cut figs in half and cover with red wine (variety of your choice)

Sprinkle with organic sugar

Allow to steep overnight

Serve with Crème Chantilly or Vanilla Gelato

Make sure you drink the residual red wine.

SIXTH * FIGS ON FLAT BREAD

Just simply cut the fresh figs in quarters.

Slather mascarpone cheese on flatbread.

Add a slice of prosciutto

Drizzle with our Fig and Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Enjoy.

figs prosciutto & mascarpone cheese on flatbread

SEVENTH * FROZEN FIGS

When you have too many figs. Just freeze the figs whole.

When you want to use them, carefully slice with a serrated knife.

Use on pizza or desserts.

It takes but minutes to thaw.

 

Tomato Water

We serving palate cleansers after all of our olive oil tastings. They freshen and delight your mouth.  It is like an adult shooter.  Paired with our Balsamic Vinegar Reductions, the palate cleanser is usually served with fresh squeezed grape juice at harvest time, or cranberry juice at Christmas or Apple juice during the Fall. It is fun to make the Balsamic Reduction and very fun to pair it with different flavors.

During August, we always make tomato water, and serve it with our Signature Balsamic reduction.  TOMATO WATER.  What is that?” everyone says. This is delicious, everyone says. Not many people can easily identify the origin of the flavor. It is a fun discussion about what this water, that tastes familiar, really is, and why we serve it frozen.

Wine glass with clear tomato water

So here is our not-so-secret recipe plan.

First, go to Peets Coffee, and plead with them to give you a very large coffee filter, or 5 in our case.  Usually they laugh at me, but are always accommodating when I buy coffee.  Certainly, you can do this in smaller filters, but we make lots of tomato water!

You begin with tomatoes, lots and lots of large tomatoes, big beefy red juicy tomatoes.

Go to Larry’s Produce in Suisun Valley or Castaneda Brothers in Vacaville, or your back yard, and get big tomatoes, and put them all in the blender.  Blend the heck out of them, no large bits.

Then you place the blended tomatoes in the filter, in the strainer, over a bowl.  Then you wait.

DO. NOT. TOUCH.

DO. NOT. PRESS.

LET THEM JUST DRAIN!

What comes out is crystal clear beautiful juice. The very essence of the tomato. This liquid can be used to flavor soups, stews, cocktails.  The sky is the limit.  I then take the remainder of the tomatoes and freeze the pulp for use during the Fall and Winter.  So delicious for pasta, stews, and on pizza. The remaining tomato pulp makes a very concentrated flavor addition to your cooking.

So there it is, tomato water.

Enjoy.

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Google Reviews

Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company
4.7
Based on 51 reviews
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Town Traveller
Town Traveller
00:35 10 Feb 20
Friendly crew, amazing olive oils and delicious gelato
Joshua L. Tryban
Joshua L. Tryban
05:19 15 Oct 19
A nice balanced break from the wine tasting nearby. Come in the fall to see the mill working.
Tiina Lusi
Tiina Lusi
21:12 18 Sep 19
When most people go to Napa, you think of wine, but honestly, I'm so glad I did some more research and came across this hidden gem! It was an amazing experience, from the tour, to the videos of the milling process, the various produce and gardens they have, the oil tasting with and without food, it was amazing. Really makes you learn a new side of olive oil, how to appreciate it more and pair it/prepare with it accordingly. I really appreciated the personal tour from Ann, you could see and feel her passion for this journey and when you have someone like that in this position, it shines through to their team and products. Cheers to Ann and her husband Mark, along with their team, for creating an amazing place here. It was unforgettable and we are looking forward to ordering olive oil online (we couldn't bring it on to the plane, so ordering online is the next best thing!)
Zack Gallinger-Long
Zack Gallinger-Long
23:44 07 Jul 19
We learned so much about olive oil! The tasting flight was very eye opening and a lot of fun to do with friends. We were on vacation and had a great time when we stopped in here. I wish we had a place like this where we live.
Sharman Bruni
Sharman Bruni
16:22 02 Jun 19
First, I want to say that they have amazing employees, they are so warm and informative! I'm very glad I came here for my first olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. The food pairing was a wonderful surprise and the gelato was delicious, unexpectedly with the olive oil on top. Seeing the plants and nature in the back was very therapeutic. I can't wait to come here again.
Caitlin Dinn
Caitlin Dinn
00:45 28 Apr 19
You definitely don't want to miss this hidden gem!!! My friends and I were lucky enough to receive a tour of the grounds from Mary, who is extremely knowledgeable of the entire olive oil industry and organic farming. It's absolutely incredible, everything served to us is made directly from their farm. Nothing goes to waste, from the skin of the olives to the food they feed to their chickens. It's truly something you don't see anymore!! Next, we had an unbelievable tasting with Gabe, who made the tasting a blast! Even if you've done an olive tasting before, this is a completely new experience. Come to find out, I have never bought REAL extra virgin olive oil!! From the minute you step in, you feel welcomed by the entire staff. You could spend the entire relaxing and playing games in the back terrace enjoying a glass or wine or beer (YES, THEY HAVE BEER!!) Truly not to be missed and is a great get away from the typical wine tour. Thanks again for welcoming us in!!
Joni Howell
Joni Howell
23:13 01 Mar 19
Had a wonderful time and was extremely informative! Their little shop let's you bring some goodies home with you.
Dmitriy
Dmitriy
21:44 31 Dec 18
We neglected to book in advance, but they were able to accommodate us for a tour and tasting on short notice. It was a delightful tour, with two hours of personal service for our group of three -- a great value for the price. I think they lose money on the tours and make it back at the gift shop.
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TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Custom Milling

Bring us your olives to be crushed in our state of the art Italian mill.

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Tastings

Taste extra virgin and co-milled flavored olive oils.

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Il Fiorello Blog

Keeping you up to date on all things olive and olive oil.

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Google Reviews

Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company
4.7
Based on 51 reviews
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Town Traveller
Town Traveller
00:35 10 Feb 20
Friendly crew, amazing olive oils and delicious gelato
Joshua L. Tryban
Joshua L. Tryban
05:19 15 Oct 19
A nice balanced break from the wine tasting nearby. Come in the fall to see the mill working.
Tiina Lusi
Tiina Lusi
21:12 18 Sep 19
When most people go to Napa, you think of wine, but honestly, I'm so glad I did some more research and came across this hidden gem! It was an amazing experience, from the tour, to the videos of the milling process, the various produce and gardens they have, the oil tasting with and without food, it was amazing. Really makes you learn a new side of olive oil, how to appreciate it more and pair it/prepare with it accordingly. I really appreciated the personal tour from Ann, you could see and feel her passion for this journey and when you have someone like that in this position, it shines through to their team and products. Cheers to Ann and her husband Mark, along with their team, for creating an amazing place here. It was unforgettable and we are looking forward to ordering olive oil online (we couldn't bring it on to the plane, so ordering online is the next best thing!)
Zack Gallinger-Long
Zack Gallinger-Long
23:44 07 Jul 19
We learned so much about olive oil! The tasting flight was very eye opening and a lot of fun to do with friends. We were on vacation and had a great time when we stopped in here. I wish we had a place like this where we live.
Sharman Bruni
Sharman Bruni
16:22 02 Jun 19
First, I want to say that they have amazing employees, they are so warm and informative! I'm very glad I came here for my first olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. The food pairing was a wonderful surprise and the gelato was delicious, unexpectedly with the olive oil on top. Seeing the plants and nature in the back was very therapeutic. I can't wait to come here again.
Caitlin Dinn
Caitlin Dinn
00:45 28 Apr 19
You definitely don't want to miss this hidden gem!!! My friends and I were lucky enough to receive a tour of the grounds from Mary, who is extremely knowledgeable of the entire olive oil industry and organic farming. It's absolutely incredible, everything served to us is made directly from their farm. Nothing goes to waste, from the skin of the olives to the food they feed to their chickens. It's truly something you don't see anymore!! Next, we had an unbelievable tasting with Gabe, who made the tasting a blast! Even if you've done an olive tasting before, this is a completely new experience. Come to find out, I have never bought REAL extra virgin olive oil!! From the minute you step in, you feel welcomed by the entire staff. You could spend the entire relaxing and playing games in the back terrace enjoying a glass or wine or beer (YES, THEY HAVE BEER!!) Truly not to be missed and is a great get away from the typical wine tour. Thanks again for welcoming us in!!
Joni Howell
Joni Howell
23:13 01 Mar 19
Had a wonderful time and was extremely informative! Their little shop let's you bring some goodies home with you.
Dmitriy
Dmitriy
21:44 31 Dec 18
We neglected to book in advance, but they were able to accommodate us for a tour and tasting on short notice. It was a delightful tour, with two hours of personal service for our group of three -- a great value for the price. I think they lose money on the tours and make it back at the gift shop.
Next Reviews