Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Audrey Hepburn & Marina Colonna—Enchanting Spice

My recent tour of Marina Colonna’s estate in Molise gave me a mild version of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck’s frantic Vespa ride through the streets of Rome in the 1953 cinema classic Roman Holiday. Prior to my arrival, rain had turned the roads and fields on Principessa Marina Colonna’s farm into a nearly unnavigable sea of mud. This didn’t stop Marina. We hopped in her truck and began our tour, first stopping to bring mid-morning coffee to the workers pruning her olive trees. We continued by slipping, sliding and spinning up and down hills all across the farm. As we rolled along near one of her beautiful lakes at a decent speed, we plunged suddenly into a deep mud hole sending muddy water in every direction. After my head bounced off of the ceiling of the cab a couple of times, Marina glanced at me and quipped, “Everyone thinks this is scary, I think it’s normal.”

It wasn’t normal when Marina stormed onto the private label olive oil stage in the 1980s. Her father, Prince Francesco Colonna, had always sold his olive crop to the large industrial olive oil processing companies. Marina challenged him to “stop selling to those people” and bottle and brand his own olive oil. His response was, “No.” After further urging from Marina, he wavered finally telling her if she felt so strongly, “then you do it.” She did.

For her leading role in Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn won an Oscar for her first role as a leading lady. Since making her plunge into the estate olive oil business, Principessa Marina Colonna has been winning her share of awards by producing outstanding premium Extra Virgin olive oils. Her extra virgin olive oils have won awards from such prestigious organizations as Slow Food. The Italian olive oil producers’ Consortium Unaprol has given Marina Colonna the “100% Italian Quality” award for “her efforts to promote the quality of real Italian extra virgin olive.”

Villa at the Colonna Estate in Molise

A couple of years ago, I began using celebrities to describe flavor profiles of premium extra virgin olive oils. For this hands-on farmer/principessa, there’s only one celebrity to describe the Colonna Classic Blend, Audrey Hepburn—elegant, regal with a gentle touch of enchanting spice.

You have a rare opportunity to meet the leading lady of the Colonna estate at the “Celebrate the Tastes of Southern Italy” on Thursday, June 24 from 7-9 pm at Potenza restaurant in Washington, DC. The event is sponsored by Washington, Women and Wine, Crush+Press and Dress for Success. For more information and registration:

Note—The use of celebrities is in no way intended to suggest these celebrities have endorsed these products, but is a simple way to give the consumer a glimpse of what can be expected from the juice in the bottle.

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