I discovered two scrumptious locally produced olive oils recently. Newcastle’s Monte Vista Ranch produces their extra-virgin, hand-milled olive oil from hand-harvested 150 year-old Pendolino trees grown in Placer County. The oil offers an aromatic, grassy hit to the nose, and showcases a mildly buttery, brightly clean flavor with a grassy, herbaceous edge and a slowly developing, lingering bite at the back of the throat. Pleasing and light, this olive oil would be terrific in salad dressings or drizzled over grilled vegetables or roasted fish.
Thundering Herd Ranch, located in Penryn, crafts an exuberantly citrusy lemon olive oil that would be fabulous in a marinade for chicken or shrimp, or as a delicate and intriguing addition to a rustic polenta cake. I loved the oil’s enticing fragrance and gentle, yet persistent lemony flavor.