Friday, November 1, 2013

Touring Artisanal Shops in Old Town Temecula

During a recent press trip to Temecula Valley Wine Country (thanks to Temecula CVB and the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association), we also got a little tour of Old Town Temecula's artisanal shops from an olive oil store, a lavender store, a sweets shop, and a spice and tea shop.

Our first stop was Temecula Olive Oil Company. The building used to be a saloon and brothel but before the olive oil tasting we headed upstairs for breakfast first, catered by E. A. T ("Extraordinary Artisan Table"), located 5-10 minutes outside of Old Town.

IMG_9198EAT sources ingredients from local producers and even make their own almond milk for morning coffee. We had tomatoes that were picked just the day before.


The bread they serve comes from Palm Springs. Drake's seems to be a favorite name for goat cheese, both plain and flavored, and for very good reason. 
They also use Drake's for the goat cheese and kale frittata. The delicious local bacon from Cook Pigs Ranch in Julian.
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By the way, E.A.T. is raising funds through Indiegogo to move to a new location and renovate due to some structural issues in their current kitchen, so please help them out or spread the word!

After breakfast we went to the olive oil store downstairs, where you can do a FREE olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting anytime. The Temecula Olive Oil Company opened in 2001 and manages 125 acres of olive trees.
They have tons of flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars from blood orange to hatch chile.
IMG_9215 ... along with dips, dressing, and honey. What's more fun about this tasting is that they combine different flavors of olive oil with balsamic vinegars that would complement them, and each staff member has their own favorite combinations! I really loved the Hatch Chili vinegar - it packs quite a bit of heat, though, and it was a bit too spicy for me so I didn't buy it but I know many of you would love it.  The garlic olive oil was pretty garlicky, I liked it! The blood orange olive oil had a beautiful fragrance as well and I liked the vanilla and fig balsamic vinegar.
We then walked to the Temecula Lavender Company, who occasionally sets up their old school lavender oil extraction kit outside to attract customers. Beakers and copper stills!
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IMG_9234The oil is then made into soaps, lavender shortbread cookies, fragrant oils, and many other lavender items that are sold in the cute little shop. There was a sink so that customers can try the washing their hands with the lavender soap and salts.

Next was the Old Town Sweet Shop. They sell prepackaged sweets as well as by weight, house made fudges, and ice cream. The other notable sweets is their chocolate covered bacon, since they don't use small bacon bits but a whole piece of bacon!

 We tasted some of the many flavors of fudges, but was too full to eat a lot and continued to the Old Town Spice Merchants. They had a lot of spices, teas, flavored salts and even dips. They had samples of the pumpkin dip out!
I hadn't been to Temecula in years and didn't do that much the first time around. I was pleasantly surprised at all the cute stores they had in Old Town Temecula. If and when you do go, make sure to stop by these stores, and especially to the olive oil store to get your free tasting!


The Sassy Panda

How fun! I feel like when people think of Temecula, the first thing they think of is wine tasting (or if you're my aunt... Pechanga Casino.) I've never actually visited Old Town before, but it looks like it would make for a fun Sunday afternoon adventure :) Thanks for posting!

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