A Unique Adventure: Experience Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Tours
Texas Hill Country’s wine trail is well known to foodies worldwide, but the region is also becoming known for another high-end culinary staple: premium olive oil.
If you’re familiar with the Texas Hill Country — whether from paddling and camping along the stunning shores of Canyon Lake, an epic biking trip, or just driving the scenic route from San Antonio to Austin — you’re probably familiar with the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail. With more than 50 individual wineries making up this interpretive “trail,” it’s hard to miss! While Texas has not historically been best known for its grapes or its wine, the bold vision, world-class craftsmanship, and breadth of offerings among these Texas wineries are quickly making foodies worldwide take notice.
Considering the fine quality of Texas Hill Country wine and winemaking, it’s no surprise that the region is now becoming well-known for pressing another small fruit into another valuable liquid associated with fine dining. Move over wine tours – Texas olive oil tours are the next must-do activity for foodies planning a Texas Hill Country adventure.
Where to Find Texas Olive Oil From Texas Hill Country
Much like the Texas Hill Country wine trail, your Texas olive oil tour will be a personalized, interpretive experience. Here are a few potential stops:
Texas Hill Country Olive Company (Dripping Springs, TX). A gorgeous, Tuscany-inspired facility located just west of Austin, the Texas Hill Country Olive Co. ships infused oils and balsamic vinegars from Texas to the rest of the world. Their in-house bistro is open during lunch hours, and a well-stocked gift shop is available for those looking to bring a taste of Texas Hill Country home with them. Additionally, the Texas Hill Country Olive Co. has two different tours available for those interested in a behind-the-scenes look. Their Texas olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting tour allows for samples of some of the company’s signature products paired with carefully selected small bites that complement their unique profiles. Another option is the olive mill tour, which gives you a firsthand look inside the operation and includes their “Extra Virgin 101” Texas olive oil experience, sure to be both educational and delicious. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and you can also arrange private tours. Seating is limited, so it’s recommended to call ahead even if you’re just stopping in for lunch.
The Bella Vista Ranch (Wimberly, TX). Located in the very heart of Texas Hill Country, almost exactly between Austin and San Antonio, The Bella Vista Ranch is another renowned producer of Texas olive oil. The Bella Vista Ranch is run in the style of a traditional Italian family farm, and this comes through in their values, their processes, and their end product. Nowhere is this spirit more evident than during their highly regarded tours and tastings. The Bella Vista Ranch is available for private tours and events and conducts regularly scheduled group tours. Their tours are really focused on the end-to-end process of growing quality olives and turning them into great oil, so wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be spending a lot of time out in the orchards learning about the olives themselves. Public tours are typically held on Saturdays. Space is limited, so plan ahead.
Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard (Elmendorf, TX). This orchard on the outskirts of San Antonio offers some incredible opportunities for folks who are interested in digging into the growing end of the olive oil process. It is also one of the few olive orchards offering free programs. On Saturdays, they have free tours at 11:30, with free workshops to follow. The workshop topics change from week to week, but rest assured you’ll leave having learned something about growing, tending, and using olive trees and their versatile fruits.
Tips for a Successful Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Tour:
- Pair your Texas olive oil tours with adjacent winery tours to stretch your olive oil tour into a long weekend of fine food and drink.
- Start with bread and dipping oil from your favorite Texas Hill Country olive oil producer. Next, grab some to-go sandwiches and cold sides from one of Hill Country’s many world-class BBQ joints. Complete the trifecta with a bottle of Texas Hill Country wine, then grab your favorite people and head to one of the region’s countless beautiful nature areas for the ultimate Texas Hill Country picnic.
- Buy plenty of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Texas Hill Country wine to bring home with you so you can infuse your day-to-day cooking with Texas Hill Country memories.
- Plan your trip for early November so you can pair it with a visit to Wurstfest, one of the largest and most exciting annual celebrations of German heritage in the United States, taking place in New Braunfels, Texas.
Relocating to Texas Hill Country
With so much fun happening here, you may just want to consider moving to the area for fun day trips to Texas Olive Oil experiences. There are so many vibrant communities and high-quality new housing like Mayfair Texas (now under development), so your Texas olive oil and wine tours never have to end!