While numerous wineries in the Lodi area celebrated Valentine’s Day early by serving wine and chocolate, Cecchetti Farms came up with a variation.
Instead of pairing wine and chocolate, how about olive oil and chocolate?
Cecchetti Farms, located on Sargent Road just west of Lower Sacramento Road, decided to offer something for people who don’t drink alcohol. On Saturday and Sunday, Cecchetti offered lemon-, orange- and garlic-flavored olive oil, which you can dip on bread or prepare pasta and pizza with olive oil.
Lemon olive oil is really good with seafood, pasta, salad and eggs, according to Karen Chandler, who opened Cecchetti Farms in 2005. Orange-flavored olive oil goes well with your Thanksgiving turkey, and the garlic variety is great on pasta and vegetables, she added.
Visitors sampled olive oil and some decadent rich chocolate during the weekend.
Guantonio’s, a Lodi-based business, offered three dishes for people to sample — a margherita pizza filled with tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese, a Yukon potato pancetta and sausage with pesto and string onions.
The business is a family operation run by Nick Guantone, his wife Shelly and their son, Nicholas. The family name in previous generations was Guantonio, but when Nick was born, the last name was changed to Guantone. However, he went back to the original family name when he started the business in 1991.
“We used to live in Clements,” Shelly Guantone said. “(Nick) made pizzas on the barbecue, and people told us we should sell it.
The family moved to Lodi, and they peddle their food at the Lodi Farmers Market each summer. They also cater at winery events, private parties, wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners.
“We’re mobile,” Shelly Guantone said. “We bring the food to you.”
The Guantones cook with a portable stove that was used outside at the weekend’s olive oil and chocolate festivities at the Cecchetti ranch. The oven comes from Naples, Italy, but was assembled in Watsonville.
Chandler, whose ranch has 100-year-old olive trees, sells the Cecchetti olive oil at three farmers markets in Stockton and one each in Lodi and Tracy. The olive oil is not manufactured mechanically, she said. That requires the olives to be “pressed” within 24 hours after picking them off the tree.
Visitors on Sunday were also able to sample gourds created by Lodi resident Elaine Fowler, who painted logos and other items on the exterior of the gourds. They include the San Francisco 49ers, Giants and Denver Broncos logos, and a Catholic nun.
Carol Clarkson, who lives in Acampo, sold cutlery, cutting boards, sprouts, jam without sugar and food dehydrators in her booth; Anna Gwerder, of Tracy, offered several varieties of chocolate to go with the olive oil; and photographer Cameo Rose from Stockton.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.