Did you know that the most awarded olive oil producer is just a short drive away in Corning? Lucero Olive Oil has been awarded over 200 (200!) awards for their olive oil, and it is a title that they have worked very hard to attain.
The Lucero family has been growing olives for three generations; they began bottling and labeling their product in a garage in 2005. The family company has grown and expanded tremendously since then, with a beautiful tasting room and bottling/shipping/pressing warehouse just off I-5 in Corning. Not only do they make delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars, they also put on one heck of a shindig.
Last weekend, they held their third annual Winter Crush event. There were local food artisans sampling and selling their goodies, a tour of the crushing process (complete with hairnets for all the visitors. I rocked that thing.), live music, a microbrew garden where they offered samples of several different breweries, and a couple food booths. Kinders was there and I enjoyed a smoky, tender pulled pork sandwich on a soft white roll from their booth. Bruciante was also representing from Redding, and we ordered the rosemary chicken pizza from their wood-fired oven. While I enjoyed the flavor of Lucero’s rosemary olive oil and the blistered crust, the pizza as a whole was pretty standard. The sauce was a tad sweeter than I like and the black olives didn’t seem quite suited for the pizza.
My favorite part of the event, as always, was the microbrew garden. I was a little pressed for time so I wasn’t able to swig away all afternoon like I would have preferred, but I was able to try a few samples that were pretty damn delightful.
First off, I enjoyed the Reason For the Season, a coffee cream stout from Wildcard Brewing in Redding. I have been meaning to pop into the tasting room when I am in Redding visiting my folks, and after sipping this delicious brew, I know I will make it happen the next time I’m in town. Next up was the Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing. It is a slightly bitter red ale with a nice hop bite and it poured out a lovely mahogany color. Lastly, I sipped a crisp, very lightly sweet, hopped apple cider from Square Mile Cider Company from Portland, OR. It was refreshing and I could have happily consumed a pint or two.
I look forward to the next event held at Lucero and I suggest you keep an eye out for it, as well. These events are free, family-friendly and they are a great way to get to know your local food producers.