Greetings olive oil lovers,

The harvest is in, the olives have been pressed, and the oil is settling!

It’s that time of year for organizing our olive oil shipment. Amazing to think what has happened in this past year since our last order. Who could have imagined what the year would bring. I remember so well, how worried we were, when New York city had just locked down, due to this new corona virus, and our shipment was to pass through customs there. Fortunately, it was smooth sailing and our pallet of olive oil, arrived in a timely manner, despite the lock down.

“Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love…”
Leonard Cohen

Now more than ever, as we continue to face so many challenges, disruptions and uncertainties, it is essential that we recognize what roots us, and what has value in our lives.

For us, extra virgin olive oil derived from old growth trees, is deeply essential. In fact, that is why we called our original Rare Lynx products “Epicurean Essentials”. Not only is it essential to us for our cooking, and nourishment, but it has been a center around which we have developed a wonderful community of friends, who value the quality and essence of this oil. And we are oh so grateful to have this long standing relationship with our wonderful producer, in the heart of the Alentejo, a place which will always hold a special place in our heart.

We consider EVOO to be medicine, a kind of elixir. In these times it is more important than ever, to recognize EVOO’s health giving benefits, especially because of it’s exceptional anti-inflammatory properties, as well as it’s ability to greatly boost our immune systems.

As a reminder, here is a little about our story and Olive Oil Odyssey.  And while you’re at it, take some time to check out our past blog posts, including our first “Welcome to Rare Lynx” or some wonderful traditional Portuguese Out of the Oven recipes from Manuel Dias (known affectionately as “our man in Portugal”), such as the yummy Autumn Harvest Cake , hearty enough for winter too!

Though we no longer bottle and sell under our own label, our passion is still real, and our motto still remains Get Real Get Rare”!

Here’s to good eating and nourishment. Be well my friends! Denise

What’s in your cupboard?

We have all heard about the enormous health benefits of true authentic extra virgin olive oil, but do you really know why?

After all, extra virgin olive oil is a staple of the much touted Mediterranean Diet. However, it is also important to recognize, that the studies conducted which lead to these results, were done in old world cultures around the Mediterranean, where extra virgin olive oil has been produced for thousands of years from old growth olive trees. In many of these old world cultures from earliest times, olive oil has been considered a “sacred substance”, as described in Tom Mueller’s brilliant book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil .

What he also reveals is that it has been one of the most adulterated food products throughout history, no less so in modern times. Incidentally, do you remember that Genco Pura olive oil was the primary front in the “Godfather” for the Corleone crime families criminal activities? In fact, Mafia still controls much of the olive oil business!

The Godfather - 3d artist Mohammad Altellawi - Hum3D

Not all EVOOs are created equal. It turns out that as much as 80% of olive oils labeled EVOO on grocery shelves, are fraudulent. Many products labeled as “extra virgin olive oil” are often mixed with inferior, contaminated, and rancid oils (some not even from olives) which are deodorized and colored with chlorophyll. Most of the time, if you are able to even find a real EVOO, it is likely mass produced from hybridized olive bushes which have a life span of a mere 12 years, as opposed to olive trees which have a potential life span of  hundreds, if not thousands of years. That’s why we consider this olive oil to be a different and distinct food product all together. And even if it says produced in a particular country, it may have only been bottled there, from a mix of olive oils from different countries, with very little oversight. The US, in particular, has traditionally been the dumping ground for these lesser oils.

Here are some reasons why we love this EVOO:

-First and foremost, we love the flavor! It is has a smooth buttery, fruity start, a desirable slight bitterness, which finishes with a spicy punch.

Coteis olive oil derives from hand-picked estate grown olives from old growth olive tree varietals of Cordovil, Galega, and Verdeal, many of which are 50 to 300 years old, and has an acidity of .4%.

-Herdade dos Coteis is a family owned and operated estate, which has been in the family for generations.

-The estate is located in the renowned region of Moura, Portugal, one of 5 regions in Portugal with the DOP (Denominação de Origem Protegida) status. The oil from this region has been revered since Roman times. and was said to have been favored by Julius Caesar.

“Protected Designation of Origin” which is the European recognition (Reg. 510/06) for an agricultural product or food whose entire production cycle, from raw material to finished product (processing and packaging), is carried in a given territory. The combination of natural factors (raw materials, environmental characteristics and location) and human (production and traditional craft), make the product unique and not reproducible elsewhere. The production rules are more strict to ensure the utmost quality.”

  • The olives are pressed within 24 hours of harvest.The state of the art olive mill is located on the estate, where Coteis has complete control of production from beginning to end, which is somewhat unique in Portugal. Most farmers and producers sell their olives to a cooperative to be milled, which means there is far less oversight as to the quality of the olives being pressed.
  • First cold pressed, which means the olives are milled once and are not exposed to heat in the process.
  • This caliber of extra virgin olive oil, produced from old growth trees, rarely leaves the region from which it is produced, primarily because there is just not enough to go around, and is reserved for local populations. Not to mention, old growth trees are very labor intensive to harvest.
  • Pure extra virgin olive oil is an exquisite elixir for your skin. I have always had extremely sensitive skin and this olive oil is the only moisturizer I use on my face anymore, and my skin has never felt better. I was inspired to try this, after seeing Manuel’s mother’s beautiful glowing youthful skin at age 80, and she has been using local olive oil on her face all her life!  In fact pure authentic extra virgin olive oil has amazing protective, rejuvenating, and nurturing properties, absorbing into your skin perfectly, without leaving any oily residue. After all, it is said, that our DNA and the DNA of olive trees evolved in close relationship in the cradle of civilization. However, when you hear that olive oil is good for your skin, it is essential that you use uncontaminated pure extra virgin olive oil, otherwise it may actually be detrimental to your skin, and you may even be prone to breaking out.

Common questions people ask us:

Is the oil organic? If you mean “certified organic”, no it is not. However we consider it “beyond organic” as the trees are only sprayed with an organic fungicide once, early in the season before blooming, and all other methods of maintaining and cultivating are by organic means. In fact, if you have ever looked at what qualifies as “organic” you may be shocked. Olive oil derived from hybridized olive bush olives, which are planted in very close proximity to each other (called superintensivo), require intensive spraying of fungicides and pesticides (whether organic or not), as they have far less resistances than old growth trees. So even if it is labeled “organic”, it was probably sprayed throughout the growing season.

What about the jug? Whereas we would—in general—recommend looking for EVOO in a dark glass bottle when purchasing commercially, in our case, because our olive oil is bottled on the premises and promptly stored in boxes and then shipped directly to us, there is no concern about degradation due to exposure to light. These jugs are made from a PET “plastic” and do not contain any BPA.

What is the shelf life? The shelf life of  fresh authentic extra virgin olive oil is 2 years if stored properly and the date of production is stamped on the bottle.

How should the EVOO be stored?  It is best to keep olive oil in cool dark storage. The enemies of fresh olive oil are light, heat, and air. One idea is to transfer the oil from the jug into wide mouthed canning jars and stored in the refrigerator or in a wine cellar. This way you can simply spoon out what you need for cooking. Then keep a smaller quantity in a dark bottle for the table. You will find the olive oil will solidify in cold storage, but easily melts when left at room temperature. Studies have shown that oil kept in dark cold storage will not loose its integrity. We even freeze our jugs!

Can I cook with this oil? Absolutely! You will be amazed at how much flavor this EVOO will add to your food when used for cooking. In fact it is a flavor enhancer in the sense that it will bring out the natural flavors of the food you cook with it. There has been a common myth that olive oil is not good for cooking. I believe this probably arose from cooking with fake or low grade olive oils. Click here to see the studies

What is a good alternative brand of extra virgin olive oil? And last but not least, this is a question we often hear but actually can’t answer. If we knew one, it would be so much easier! Perhaps it is from having lived in Sicily, and taking our olives to the press, where the farmers would watch the process of their olives turned into olive oil from beginning to end, because they did not trust anyone else’s olive oil. The best way to be guaranteed quality olive oil, is to know your source, and we have been fortunate to have cultivated this relationship with this producer and have the unique opportunity to order it direct. So we do, and that is that!

Posted in Uncategorized

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!
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