Yesterday, we walked to Alegio chocolate for a Moveon.org chocolate and wine inaugural party. In the garden, a band played beautiful spanish guitar music to a crowd and the warm air felt like spring. The whole block was buzzing with inaugural celebrations.
We walked by our local celebrated restaurant Chez Panisse. “Congratulations President Obama” was printed on top of the menu displayed outside. I’ve had the good fortune of dining there for special occasions. Not only does the restaurant have a “commitment to good food, community, and sustainability,” the food is also the bomb. Over the past year I have been buying and cooking the delicious produce from some of their food providers at the all organic farmers’ market located on the same street as the restaurant, on Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA.
Inspired by the delicious, simple style of cooking vegetables with olive oil, and the video of chef Alice Waters in the NY Times making a simple meal from fresh farmers’ market items, I finally got the nerve to call Chez Panisse and ask for the name of the olive oil used in their meals. (Waters reportedly travels with her own olive oil.) One of the chefs informed me that the primary oil they use is the Italian Oleificio Chianti. I plan to try the Buonsapore extra virgin olive oil for seasoning. The chefs have also used local organic olive oil from the Stonehouse California Olive Oil Company. She says that Oleificio Chianti is available locally at stores like Monterey Market, Berkeley, CA. It can also be ordered online through local olive oil importers.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard-educated author and Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Arizona, recommends quality organic extra virgin olive oil for its health benefits in his article on olive oil. He uses organic Lucini Limited Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Dr. Weil says, this “oil exceeds all of my expectations for both taste and healthful properties.”