For love of an olive tree

It was love at first sight, once in the presence of her gnarly, twisted, silvery leafed beauty. For I sensed from her a divinity, a deep soulful wisdom, an unflinching rootedness, both hollowed and holy. And when she bore her plump fruits in many varied shades of greens, purples, roses, and blues, hanging heavy from those long, lilting, lyrical, limbs, she became a passion. Ah, but then, when once I tasted the freshly pressed golden juice of her perfectly formed oval drupes, it was like sipping a sublime elixir my cells had thirsted for all my life.

I confess, that would be me and an ancient olive tree. And then, I fell in love with every one, each a unique being, a numinous creature, who has withstood the test of time, still thriving, shaped by and despite the stresses of droughts, fires, storms, severe prunings. Just imagine what these trees have witnessed, some having lived as many as 3000 years. I remember clearly one magnificent tree, before which, I had the overwhelming sense of standing in the presence of a Buddha.

Since ancient times the olive tree has been considered “the greatest gift of mankind” as was given by the Goddess Athena when she struck her spear into the ground and out sprang the olive tree, more valuable even than the waters that Poseidon brought forth. Studies show that our DNA is inextricably linked to that of the olive tree’s, as our evolution has been intertwined since the cradle of civilization. That is why the olive tree is the original “tree of life”.

This sacred tree has been associated with wisdom, peace, light, hope, fertility, health, wealth, and balance through the ages. Olive trees represent sustenance, endurance, illumination. There are innumerable myths and tales which express the intrinsic fusion and relationship of the olive tree to the land and to the people.

And so, having lived in the lands of ancient olive trees, having made whole life decisions based on them, having been unable to live without authentic extra virgin olive oil derived from these remarkably long-lived trees, having a passion for sharing that oil, and a deep residing belief and reverence for its health-giving qualities, I wanted to share a few ancient olive trees, of the Alentejo, Portugal, from whence our olive oil is sourced, that I have had the pleasure of meeting. Please enjoy!

“When the end of my tale finally comes, I imagine myself being the old woman in the story, who turns into an ancient crooked and gnarled olive tree. Then I would know, this is where I am, rooted and wise and awakened. Well I don’t know if that is a story, but it should be.”

“The olive tree is surely the richest gift of heaven.”  

Thomas Jefferson 

Posted in Uncategorized

Sold Out!

Rare Lynx is sold out of all olive oils and we know how much you are missing them too!

We continue on our mission to carry the message of the wonders of true authentic olive oil to the world. Please check your sources when purchasing olive oil. It is a slippery slope but worth the effort!


Posted in Uncategorized

Rare Lynx on Momondo!

BlogBAdge-125x125_food tips

click here to see post

We hit the big time! Our “Out of the Oven”  post for Arroz de Pato   is featured in

“20 Mouthwatering Portuguese dishes you need to try!”

on the beautiful blog travel site !

Duck Rice

Click here for Duck Rice recipe!



We are so happy that “Our man in Portugal”, Manuel Dias, shared this fabulous traditional recipe with us and now we have been discovered. And lookin’ good if we do say so ourselves!

When we decided to move from Sicily to Portugal in search of an olive farm, we were worried about the quality of food we would find, after having lived where food is rated some of the top in the world. I have to say, we were spoiled. After all, Noto is home to Caffè Sicilia, which is renowned for its  exquisite pastries inspired by antique recipes brought to life by Chef Corrado Assenza,  considered to be thebest pastry master we have in Italy.”  But more on that another time. 


However, we were not only surprised but thrilled by the delicious foods of Portugal. We agree with Momondo when they say “Traditional Portuguese cuisine is among the most underrated (and most yummy) dishes in the world.”  Portuguese foods are relatively pure and simple. Momondo’s list of dishes is a lovely sampling of Portuguese specialty cuisine. And let us not forget the wines! Another much under rated product of Portugal, only recently gaining attention here in the States.

Particularly unique are their stellar pastries, largely egg based and out of this world delicious!


click here to go to website!

Which brings me to the creme of the creme (quite literally), truly the gem of Portuguese pastries (pasteleria), and that is the  Pastel de Belém appropriately included in Momondo’s list, and that delicious looking, truly mouthwatering image at the top of their list. Pasteis de Belém is  one of the most famous pastry shops in the world, and one of our favorite pilgrimages to make when visiting Lisbon.  These delicate creme tarts are like no other, it is believed this secret antique recipe was created before the 18th century by Catholic nuns in the parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in Lisbon. The cafe itself is beautiful with its traditional blue and white tiled walls. To go there is a total gastronomic event!


click here for recipe!



I also want to point out that the amazing Portuguese Arroz Doce (rice pudding) is included in Momondo’s list but with no link to a recipe. Well we can help you out with this. If only they had seen Manuel’s wonderful “Out of the Oven” post with this extraordinary traditional recipe, colorfully presented in Granny Lála’s Rice Pudding? This is like no rice pudding you have ever had, pure heaven!

Yum! Is it time to eat?

Posted in Uncategorized

Farmer’s Markets: the heartbeat of community!

Visiting a farmer's market in Estremoz Portugal

Visiting a farmer’s market in Estremoz Portugal

Over our years living abroad including residences in Malta, Sicily, and Portugal, we learned a great deal about the vitality of  communities, what is central to quality of living, and where to find the heart beat of a town. As we have said many times food is a huge center piece. In every town that we lived or traveled to, we could always find a farmer’s market.  In Gozo Malta, not only was there the market in Victoria’s square but the vegetable truck which would stop on our street outside our house every day, making its way throughout the streets of the village. Not to mention the bread truck! There was no better experience than the colorful produces, wonderful scents, and sounds of mongers, than at the bustling markets in Siracusa or Catania Sicily, or finding treasures in the gypsy market of Noto and coming home with a basket full of delicious bounty. In our beloved town of   Évora Portugal not only is there the Saturday market, but there is a whole beautifully restored building dedicated to a daily farmers market set next to the lovely town park and the Chapel of Bones near the town center. These markets are essential to the heart of these communities. This is where people meet, greet, share, exchange ideas, find inspiration, and shop. A center for nurturing heart and body.

Visiting the lovely farmer’s market in Estremoz Portugal,
 with “our man in Portugal” Manuel Dias.

Here Manuel is explaing to Christopher his experience as a child making hams with his grandparents.

Here Manuel is explaining to Christopher about how porco preto (black pig) is fed the acorns from the cork oak trees to get the most exquisite flavor!

Oh the wonderful cheeses!

Oh the wonderful cheeses!


Hmmm…what do you think we should get?

Which birdie?

Which birdie?

Beautiful display at the market!

Beautiful display at the market!

Selling live chickens, turkeys, and geese at the market.

Selling live chickens, turkeys, and geese at the market


Another view of the market!


One of the lovely tiled buildings in the square.

Boy standing outside cafe.

Boy standing outside cafe.

Detail from the tiled building. Tile facades are one of the unique architectural features in Portugal.

Detail from the tiled building. Tile facades are one of the unique architectural features in Portugal.


They also have antiques for sale.

Home with the bounty!

Home with the bounty!

Our very own Charlottesville City Market

As some of you may already know there has been a great deal of discussion and struggle over the past few years over the fate of the Charlottesville City Market. Listed in the top 50 best farmer’s markets in the country, it is representative of what defines Charlottesville as a “high quality of life” place to live.

Charlottesville City Market 1st Street

Charlottesville City Market 1st Street

Last year Rare Lynx had the great pleasure and privilege to participate as reserved vendors.  Despite the sometimes cold mornings, rainy weather, or blazing sun it was an enormously gratifying experience. The sense of community among the vendors, as well as the people who make their weekly pilgrimage there, is very palpable. We also noticed that many tourists made a special effort to visit the City Market, and we still have people from afar seeking us out after having bought something from our table. Maintaining a central,easily accessible, home for Charlottesville City Market is vital to fostering a thriving, generative, and creative community.

Manuel's visit to Charlottesville helping us out at the Rare Lynx table!

Manuel’s visit to Charlottesville helping us out at the Rare Lynx table!




Please go to Market Central to read the petition letter which explains what design options are up for vote before the city council on Monday June 16th. Please sign the petition to support one of the 2 designs which include a permanent home for the Charlottesville City Market. They have our vote!

We’ll be seeing you at the market!

Posted in Farmer's Market

Getting fresh 2014

Dear All,

We are back from an extended stay in Portugal, missing some of the very hard weather of Virginia this past winter! It was actually very rainy and cool there, but the fields began to explode with color, a prelude to returning to Charlottesville for a very long awaited spring. With “our man in Évora”, Manuel Dias, as our gracious host, we had lots of time to visit, cook, and share great meals. One of the highlights was when he brought a 2 lb bag of truffles home which he bought from a farmer selling by the side of the road. And as always we love the wild asparagus which grows in the open countryside.

Then of course we got to taste with great expectation, the 2014 “pressing” of extra virgin olive oils from different regions and we’d like to let you in on a little secret:

Olive grove with sheep

Olive grove with sheep Moura Portugal

We still love our producer’s olive oil the best! 

We are making some important changes in our approach we’d like to let you know about. We have only a very few bottles of our award winning 2012 extra virgin olive oil available and are now shifting our attention to brokering bulk orders of freshest extra virgin olive oil on request. This means we will have a new look as well. Our olive oil will come in traditional 250 ml. cylindrical bottles with screw tops. Each bottle will be approximately $8.00. Our signature Thomas Jefferson hang tag will be included.In order therefore to make this superior truly authentic highest quality oil that you have all grown to know and love available, we must order a minimum of a full pallets worth. This necessitates that we receive pre-orders which add up to the total to fill a pallet. Should you decide you want a full pallet yourself, of course you will enjoy further savings.

Whether you are a retailer or cooperative, please consider placing an order for a full year’s supply.  True olive oil which has been produced with the highest standards has a shelf life of at least 2 years if kept under optimal conditions in cool dark storage. As soon as we have enough pre-orders we can make arrangements for our special order. At that point we will need pre-payment, and we will be good to go!

We will also be putting together pallets of bulk oil for those who prefer to sell or buy in bulk. Please contact us for further details if you are interested.

Please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested in the opportunity to participate in one of these orders!

Last year with our launch and our many outings at the Charlottesville City Market, wine and food festivals, fairs, and tastings, we met so many fascinating and inspiring people. Through these venues we accomplished our goal of getting the word out and providing thousands of people with the taste of what real olive oil can be.

Here is a lovely article on Portuguese olive oil!

And yet another recent article from Forbes on the great olive oil scandals.

We remain dedicated to our inspiration: the Rare Lynx is not Extinct!

We wish all our friends vibrant health and living!Christopher and Denise

Posted in Uncategorized

Seasons Greetings!

xmasLynx2We are grateful for the amazing reception we have had this past year of our launch. We are also looking forward to our continuing friendships, old and new, and a rich and prosperous new year for all.

Many thanks to the rest of our Rare Lynx team, Manuel Dias and Alberto Gaitán, for your support and contributions. We couldn’t have done it without you! 

Here is wishing everyone a joyous, delicious,
and peace filled holiday season!

1-DSC04174Christopher and Denise

Posted in Miscellaneous

Finding Rare Lynx!

To all our local yokels (you know who you are!),

This is a reminder to support locally owned shops this season and always. And  in case you missed the “Give a Little Lynx Love” mailing last week where we gave you the list of shops which are carrying Rare Lynx , here it is again:

Monticello Museum Shop
Relay Foods
Rebecca’s Natural Foods
Greenwood Gourmet Grocery
Market Street Wine Downtown
JM Stock Provisions
Notaviva Vineyards
Early Mountain Vineyards
Charlottesville City Market

Toddsburry’s of Ivy (our very local market in Ivy)

And keep your eyes open…more to come!

DSC04735Rare Lynx at  the beautiful Monticello Museum Shop for their annual
“Handmade for the Holidays” event. They have a very nice selection of our gift boxes available there. Well worth the trip if you haven’t been there in a while!
Otherwise, remember you can always place  orders  online from the comfort of your own home, and have them shipped out to loved ones in other parts of the country!
Feel free to call us if there is anything you can’t find in the shops!
434-295-9945  or email us at email hidden; JavaScript is required
All orders must be received by December 15th!
Sending good wishes to all our local yokel lynx lovers for a delicious holiday season and a wondrous new year!Denise and Christopher
Posted in Friends of Rare Lynx

So What’s New?


We are so excited to introduce the newest additions to our line of Rare Lynx products!


1-DSC04687First of all we have created two new olive oil infusions. Sun Lynx is infused with the best Shenandoah Valley sun dried tomatoes and nothing else. Some people just don’t like the heat, on the other hand some do. So we also created an infusion to satisfy those hot lovers, “Hot Lynx” nothing but chipotle and habanera, filled with flavor and a big kick! So as always, dip, drip drizzle, and drink……………





Lavender Oil and Castile SoapThen for our own pleasure, and the irresistible pleasure of others, because olive oil is so delicious on your skin, we have designed two beautiful products to bath yourself in. First we have a massage oil infused with lavender essence in our high quality spray bottles from Spain. Some of you may know Christopher started as a massage therapist many moons ago and so he was able to find the perfect blend. The massage oil is so luxurious I soak myself in it, and my skin just drinks it up!We also now have hand made soaps made from our very own finest extra virgin olive oil, in two versions, scented with essence of lavender and unscented. This is the purest Castile Soap around, an antique recipe from the old world. If you have sensitive skin or are sensitive about exposing your skin to all the chemicals found in soaps today, you will want to try this!

Posted in New Products

Wild thing!


We have some exciting “Wild” announcements  to share with you!

WRSFirst of all we were very pleased and surprised to discover that our Wild Red Spread and Rare Red Rub are featured in the beautiful Edible Blue Ridge magazines’s Fall issue on their “Dig In!” page, suggestions for gifts for the holidays.
As well, Wild Red Spread was included in Relay Foods November “Tasting Box”!
Thanks for all the support!

We also wanted to put a little prrr… in your ear as you start to ruminate about what  to give to your favorite gourmets this holiday season! As we enter into the season of celebration and food (which we’re all about) think about giving a little lynx love!

1-DSC04138We have a beautiful selection of gourmet gift boxes available. Consider the quintessential “Rare Lynx Epicurean Essential: the works box”  to our “Simple Essential” or Little Treasure” or “Salt” or “Spice”  or of course the “Olive oil box”! If you don’t see the combination you want just let us know and we can put together a custom box just for you.  Also dipping oils, spreads, rubs, and our beautiful Flor de Sal sea salt and Saffron Flor de Sal make very welcome and unique host gifts just on their own. We even have gift bags for a little special touch. Our online shop is very user friendly. If you are ordering online, please place your orders early, no later than December 15th, to guarantee delivery to your loved ones in time for the holidays. We will be officially closed as of December 18th.

Please remember to support local producers as much as possible during this holiday season.

Signing off with a little lynx love…

Posted in News!

Out of the Oven… Autumn Harvest Cake

meHi everybody. Here I am once more, your Rare Lynx man in Portugal!It’s been a while, huh?
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve missed you all so much, but here I am again and this time I brought you something special.Something that unites the flavors of autumn: a little bit of the sweet smokiness of the maple syrup, the nuttiness of the cereal, the crunchiness of the nuts, the freshness of the olive oil and there is a big plus!

This is all organic pure fiber that will keep your body clean and sane. What else would you wish for in a cake? It is the most delicious cake and it goes very well with fruits of the season, orange zest and a little bit of whipped cream, if you like. To top it all off by drizzling with Rare Lynx Extra Virgin olive oil.

So, what I usually do, is to get a mix of organic all grain flaked cereal: wheat, rye, barley, oats. I mix them all together and keep it in a jar, so that when I need to make this cake I already have it prepared. I also keep a mix of several seeds (flax, sesame, poppy, watermelon, sunflower, chia…) reserved for the same purpose. As you can see, this is a very rich cake.

in the food processor

in the food processor

Ok, wanna go for it? Lets do it…

You will need

1 cup corn starch (or potato starch)

1 cup organic all grain cereal flakes (or you can use only one kind of cereal if you want)  Try one of the local high quality granola producers such as Hudson Henry Baking Co.’s small batch granola

½ cup flax seed flour

pour in the olive oil

pour in the olive oil

1 cup of ground seed mix such as pumpkin flax (yellow or black) sunflower, sesame poppy 2 tablespoon psyllium

1 cup of chopped nut mix (walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, etc)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of cardamom

1 teaspoon baking powder

whisking yogurt, syrup, eggs and oil

4 eggs

½ cup of Greek yogurt (full fat)

1 cup Rare Lynx Extra Virgin olive oil

1 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup hickory syrup if you can get your hands on some (the only one I know of is Wildwood’s Hickory Syrup made right there in Virginia. I brought a bottle back with me all the way to Portugal!)

Pinch of Rare Lynx Flor de Sal or Saffron Flor de Sal

Its a bunch of stuff, right? But it will do you good and the flavor is…just divine!

Now comes the simple part. Put all the dry ingredients together. You can mix them all by hand or if you have a food processor, put the metallic blades in and give it a spin until its all mixed up. In a bowl mix all the liquid ingredients and pour it into the food processor where you have the dry mix. Push the button until the batter starts bubbling.

Now its time to get one of your kids and let him dip a finger in the batter to taste. His smile will tell you how good it is. That’s the best test to see if everything is going to work ok.

batter and dusted tube pan

batter and dusted tube pan

Get a cake pan, grease it with olive oil, and then dust it with a bit of flour just to keep the cake from getting stuck to the walls of the pan.

Put it into the oven 160° C / 320 F for 45 minutes.

See the beautiful golden olive oil drops!

See the beautiful golden olive oil drops!




This cake will bring all these autumn flavors and nutty  aromas into your taste buds and a little bit of warmth to your soul. Have a piece of cake with a nice cup of black tea or with your favorite beverage.

You’ve got to try it with the whipped cream, some raspberries, orange zest, a sprinkle of walnuts and, a drizzle of olive oil, Rare Lynx, of course! I’m sure you will love it.

See you guys soon. Bye!

I’m Manuel, the Rare Lynx guy in Portugal.

Posted in Out of the Oven

Welcome to Rare Lynx!

Denise Hyland under an old olive treeRare Lynx has had a life of its own in many ways. It has been a true Odyssey, a personal journey of discovery full of lessons and hidden treasures, with food at its center. We are frequently asked questions regarding our story, our experiences, and inspirations. We hope to answer some of them here and share in our quest to bring you the very best for your table. Welcome! Thanks for joining us! Denise