By Marlena Chavira-Medford
The Temecula Olive Oil Company recently opened a storefront on Cedros Avenue. The company has retail spaces in Temecula and downtown San Diego, and co-owner Catherine Pepe said this most recent store came after urging from clientele.
“We had a lot of customers in the North County area who wanted something closer to home,” Pepe said, who launched the company with friend Nancy Curry about 10 years ago. “Our other locations get a lot of tourists traffic, so we wanted to offer something that was more geared toward the locals. We feel we picked the perfect spot, and we’re thrilled to be in Solana Beach.”
The Cedros offers complimentary olive oil tastings — a concept that seems peculiar to many first-timers, Pepe said.
“We tell people they’ll be licking the cup after they taste it, and they never believe us, but they almost always end up doing just that.”
That’s because most people haven’t ever tasted true, fresh extra virgin olive oil and may not realize that olive oil “isn’t supposed to taste oily”, she said. Therefore, education is a big part of the tasting experience.
“The taste of olive oil can be very light or heavy, depending on when the olives where harvested,” she explained.
For example, late harvest olives make for buttery oil that’s ideal of cooking, whereas early harvest olives make for a lighter, more peppery oil that’s made for drizzling over fresh tomatoes and pasta. Those oils come in flavored varieties, like blood orange, white truffle, roasted garlic, and fresh basil. The company also bottles a variety of vinegars that have been infused with flavors, like honey, pomegranate, and vanilla with California fig.
“The blood orange olive oil paired with the vanilla and California fig vinegar is a nice combo — it makes for a great dressing.”
The store also offers about 14 varieties of jarred olives, several types of spreads, and a line of olive-based soaps. Temecula Olive Oil Company also offers gift baskets, which can be shipped all over the world.
The Solana Beach location is located at 342 S. Cedros Avenue. It is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., though Pepe said there will likely be extended hours in the summertime. For more information, visit
or call (858) 847-9007.