Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company
Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company is nestled in the countryside in Suisun Valley. Not far from Napa and a short drive off of Highway 80 in Fairfield, you will find yourself driving amongst a landscape of farms, orchards, vineyards, and olive groves. As you approach Il Fiorello, you will see beautiful burgundy-red ranch style buildings surrounded by olive trees. Turning into the driveway, you will pass old crushing stones from Italy, reminding you of the ancient method used for pressing olives hundreds of years ago. You will be welcomed inside to explore the history of the olive and learn more about the artisan olive oil that is produced at Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company.
A Little Flower in the Suisun Valley
As you enter the Olive House, a peaceful environment envelopes you. Sun streams into the windows and warms up the room and a sweet citrus scent fills the air. We are greeted by Ann, the owner, who is cooking preserves in the kitchen. She invites us in to see and smell the delightful jam she’s been cooking for three days and is soon to be ready. This isn’t an ordinary kitchen. This is a commercial grade kitchen that is big enough to hold cooking classes (more on this later!). We tell Ann that we are interested in tasting Il Fiorello’s olive oil and she leads us into another room that has a full blown tasting bar. She introduces us to Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company by telling us the story of how the name Il Fiorello came to be. Fiorello was Ann’s grandfathers last name, which means “little flower” in Italian. Ann thought the name was a perfect fit for their family olive oil brand, as olive trees bloom with little white flowers before bearing fruit.
In Full Bloom
We are seated in a beautiful room with slate floors, a big fireplace, picturesque windows overlooking the garden and groves, and a bar with granite counters that would make any bartender envious. However, this bar is stocked with single varietal, international award winning, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars. They also stock a few select wines from local producers if you’d like to enjoy a glass of wine after the tasting.
Ann is in her element when she steps behind the bar. Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company is her life and family business that she runs with her husband, Mark. You will feel her sense of pride as she explains that the entire production of making the olive oil is done on site. Not only do they grow the olives, but they harvest by hand and mill the olives within 2-4 hours of picking. Having a high end Olive Mill on site allows for maximum freshness, which you will discover while tasting Il Fiorello’s olive oil. Ann blooms with enthusiasm as she explains each variety of olive oil and its unique characteristics, filling our heads with ideas of delicious foods to prepare.
Making Culinary Dreams Come True
Ann has traveled to Italy and learned from top chefs how each individual olive oil will enhance or complement certain foods. Just like wine, olive varietals have their own unique characteristics. As you taste each oil, she graciously shares her culinary secrets for you to try at home.
Imagine the mild Arbosana sprinkled over popcorn, the robust Frantoio drizzled over a savory grilled steak, the velvety and silky Leccino, known as “Lucious Lady Leccino”, paired with a fluffy baked potato or grilled Halibut, and the green and grassy Pendolino, known for its brilliant green color, to liven up your vegetables. Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company also has flavored olive oils that are co-milled with local fruit. Ann shares the exotic Tangelo and the spicy Jalapeño to give us more inspiration to get cooking!
But wait, there’s more! Il Fiorello also produces their own balsamic vinegars that are unbelievable. The balsamic vinegar reductions are made in small batches and are simply some of the best we’ve tasted, with a nice balance of both sweet and sour. Their Signature Balsamic is a “must have” for anyone who loves a quality balsamic and the Winter Fruit Balsamic, made with pomegranates and oranges, is a specialty item that every foodie will dream about.
Remember the kitchen we mentioned when we first entered Il Fiorello? Well, this kitchen is used to help you learn how to cook with all the wonderful olive oils and vinegars that Il Fiorello makes. Working with Executive Chef Marvin Martin (previous chef for Robert Mondavi Winery), Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company offers classes for you to enjoy the fruits of their labor, literally!
More Than What Meets The Eye
The Il Fiorello pride and attention to detail from start to finish is admirable. Their farm-to-table style olive oils are bottled with hand written labels and hand tied tags stating the variety and harvest date. The award winning oils proudly display their well-deserved medals. Red wax carefully seals the deal, giving the bottles their final touch with a bit of old world style. Although beautiful, we all know it’s what’s inside that counts. But, don’t just take our word for it. Il Fiorello’s olive oil is certified as extra virgin from the California Olive Oil Council and The UC Davis Olive Center. Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company has also been named “one of the world’s best olive oil producers” at the New York International Olive Oil Competition in 2013!
Be prepared to be impressed with the hospitality you receive at Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company. Not only will you feel relaxed in a beautiful setting amongst the groves, you will learn about the distinct flavor that each variety of olive can bring to your palate. Before ending your visit, check out their retail store filled with one of a kind gourmet treats and give yourself a gift of California goodness that all starts with a little flower.
Photographs taken by The Grove & Co. at Il Fiorello Olive Oil Co. in Suisun Valley, CA.