By Jan D’Atri
Some things are worth the trip. Especially when they’re handcrafted food products that are local, organic and gourmet.
Yes, it’s worth the drive out to Queen Creek to visit the Queen Creek Olive Mill, where you can take in a factory tour or stroll the orchard, savor gourmet olives, sample fig or pomegranate white balsamic vinegars, try tasty tapenades and take home fresh pressed extra virgin olive oils infused with chocolate, white truffles, bacon, roasted garlic, Meyer lemon or blood orange.
Then there’s the Tuscan-inspired eatery, wine tastings, music and dancing. The Queen Creek Olive Mill is Agritourism at its best, and the booming town of Queen Creek has had Arizona’s only olive working farm and mill all to itself for the last 17 years.
If Queen Creek is too far of a trek, you can visit Queen Creek’s Oils and Olives at Kierland Commons in Scottsdale. But the Olive Mill is certainly worth the drive.
Owner Perry Rea started with 10 acres, 1,000 olive trees and a retired career in the automotive industry. Now with 25 acres, 16 varieties of olives and 40 products under the Queen Creek label, many of us are happy that Rea switched from motor oil to olive oil.
At the heart of everything that Rea does is creating a fun, friendly atmosphere where families can gather around the table and enjoy good food, whether it’s at the olive mill or in your own home. So that brings me to my new favorite product from QCOM — bacon-infused extra virgin olive oil. What that means is you now get all the tantalizing flavor of bacon without any of the bacon fat. What better way to enjoy this dynamic duo of olive oil and bacon than with a good old fashioned spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, the flavor richly enhanced by full-bodied Queen Creek fig balsamic vinegar? This recipe was created just for you by Perry — for olive us to enjoy!
Queen Creek Olive Mill Spinach Salad
• 2 tablespoons Queen Creek Olive Mill fig balsamic vinegar
• 3 tablespoons Queen Creek Olive Mill bacon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
• 6 cups baby spinach
• 4 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
• 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
If sesame seeds are not toasted, in a small dry skillet, toast sesame seed over medium high heat until golden brown in color. Set aside to cool. In a skillet, add vinegar, bacon olive oil, lemon juice and sesame seeds. Stir to combine over medium heat until hot. In a large bowl, combine the spinach and green onions. Add the warm dressing and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese and serve. Serves 4.
Watch Jan D’Atri’s how-to videos at https://bit.ly/JanDAtri.