Sunday, November 16, 2003


We saw a poster in our town for a new oil festa, and it started this weekend. We immediately knew what we would be doing this weekend. We had asked the workmen where we could buy new oil, and they had sent us to a factory not far from San Venanzo. We went there the other day, but were told the new oil wasn't ready yet, and that we should call back after November 20th. So, when we saw this poster, we decided to check out this was in Montecchio, near Orvieto.

We really enjoy the drive on the ss448 road from Todi to Orvieto, and according to our map, Montecchio is easily accessible. After a pleasant drive, we reach the tiny city, park the car, and walk to the centro. From the looks of it, Montecchio might be just a bit smaller than San Venanzo, but not by much. We saw people milling about, and Art stuck his head in a small shop to ask where the festa was. When he emerged from the shop, he said, "She says it's not until December!" Disappointed, we returned to the car. We knew there was a poster for the festa just outside of town, so we decided to stop and re-read it, to see where we had gone wrong.

Once we read the poster again, we returned to town. The poster had confirmed what we thought: The festa starts on the 16th (today), and runs for a week. It promised bruschetta, a tour of the olive oil museum, and products typical of the area. When Art went back to the store and told the woman what we had seen and read, she was surprised. You would think in a town this size that everyone would know everything! It wasn't until he mentioned the oil museum that she realized what he was talking was down at the factory, just outside of town! Some quick directions and we were on our way!

The factory was less than five minutes out of town, but when we got there, it appeared deserted. After looking around and ringing the bell, I decided to call the phone number painted on the truck that was parked in the lot. We heard the phone ring inside the factory, and then someone answered! Yes, they were closed now, but would re-open at two o'clock. Since it was one o'clock, we decided to head back to Montecchio for some lunch. It's a good thing we acted quickly...the one small restaurant filled up quickly after we arrived, and several people had to be turned away. We had a nice lunch, and then returned to the oil factory.

To advertise this event as a festa may be wishful thinking, or maybe just promotional hype. The museum was a quick walk-through of old equipment and photographs. Then we found the oil! In a separate room, actually the room where the oil was being pressed, we found the samples. A fire was going in the fireplace, and sliced bread was being toasted for bruschetta. (And just a quick note: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't say "bruschetta" with the SH sound...the "sch" is pronounced just like it is for "school", so it is pronounced "brusketta" thank you) The woman preparing the bruschetta asked Art is he wanted it rubbed with garlic. He practically jumped up and down with glee as he said "YES!!!" Then she placed the bread on a plate and covered it with oil. A quick dash of salt, and we headed for the picnic tables that were set up nearby. Needless to say, it was delicious!

The lady then came to the table to ask us if we would like to sample their wines....oh gosh, let me think about it...okay, YES!!!! They make both red and white wines, and both were delicious. After she had poured us each a glass of both red and white, she returned with a bowl of beans. Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a bean eater. Except when I am in Italy. I don't know what they did to these beans, or even what type of beans they were, but they were incredibly delicious! And this was after we had just finished lunch! Although we hated to leave the tasting area, we wanted to buy some of these great foods as soon as possible.

Not only did they sell oil, and wine, they also sold both green and black olive paste, artichokes packed in oil, and whole olives. We decided to buy one five liter tin of oil, not two, because we will buy another from the place near San Venanzo, and probably another one from the place in Spoleto. Just as we were leaving, I noticed that they also had canned tomatoes for sale, so we bought a case of those too. And did I mention that we bought several bottles of wine, both red and white? But you already knew that, I'm sure.

We took an alternate route home, and enjoyed the incredibly beautiful scenery that is Umbria. We were high up on a ridge, and had spectacular views of the olive groves and vineyards. We wound our way back through Todi, and headed home...a very successful, and delicious, day!