Authentic 100% Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Organic Pasta - Available at store location only.

The International Super Commute

April 22, 2018

The villa we call home in the region of Le Marche and a place that provides endless inspiration for our endeavor with Fratelli Ponzi and Casal Cristiana EVOO.

We didn't ever intend on commuting 6,000 miles to work, but this is the new normal for me and my husband Michel. A sabbatical in Italy during the summer of 2012 turned into an international move that would take us on a roller coaster ride of a lifetime.  Fast forward nearly six years later, the ups and downs are less severe but the excitement still continues.  Our small olive oil project, Casal Cristiana, is expanding out to other products under the brand name Fratelli Ponzi, which is also the name of our new brick and mortar located in Dundee, Oregon.  As I write the first blog after a very long hiatus, I am currently zipping down the Italian Autostrada with Michel at the wheel.  He is expertly dodging cars while moving at high speed.  He is a complete natural in the fluidity of it all. I am quite content to be in the passenger seat catching up with my 15-year-old son on the phone who is patiently waiting for his parents to return home from one of their many work trips to Oregon. We are going as fast as we can ... and in Italy ... It's pretty darn fast.

As Michel and I are straddling two continents, expanding our dream and resisting conformity, we often talk about how hard it is to do something different.  On a superficial level, it appears to be all fun (and yes, there is fun involved, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it) but there is a tremendous amount of effort that is happening behind the scenes.  It takes a lot of coordination when you have your children in one country and your business in another. The day Bea came home to her forever family We have created an entire life center in a foreign land and it’s a place where we now call home because we have strong friendships, rescued dogs who needed a forever family, work with business colleagues, and found good doctors, dentists, and most importantly … a great hairdresser. This did not take a year or two … it took many.  If you are thinking about living the dream, buckle up and give it a test drive for many years.  So here we are, logging lots of miles in the air and on the ground to have the life we want. We take calls and emails at all times of the day ... and night … in either Italian or English.  And while we work things out on both sides of the pond, we realize we are staying true to at least one lesson we have learned by living in Italy.  Take things slowly…. “piano, piano”… a phrase I use frequently and probably too much, but it reminds us to not rush. Let life and concepts develop at a pace that is natural and not forced.  Make progress but pause to see where things fall into place.  As we take another leap into opening Fratelli Ponzi, a wine bar and retail shop for fine food and wine, we know a new life rhythm has begun and that the bar and store will be shaped over time…. Not today, not tomorrow.  It will evolve.  If you are wondering what Fratelli Ponzi is all about, well, let me tell you!

Fratelli Ponzi, Fine Food & Wine, located in Dundee, Oregon is next to our restaurant, The Dundee Bistro, where Casal Cristiana EVOO is used in most dishes.  At Fratelli Ponzi we are featuring Italian wine varietals from small producers in Oregon and Italy.  Here, guests can enjoy wine flights, comparing old world against the new, that include sparkling, red, white and rosé wines.  Three different wine flights from a selection of about 15 wines are offered daily.  We also have wine by the glass, Italian and Oregon draft beer, Italian inspired cocktails and small plates from oysters, charcuterie and cheese, Tuscan bean hummus, focaccia and Casal Cristiana EVOO, panini and more.  But the other exciting tidbit is that we are curating some interesting Italian and Oregon wines that are for sale by the bottle.  Of course, Casal Cristiana Extra Virgin Olive Oil by the bottle is available for purchase as well as our Italian coffee and selected Italian chocolates, balsamic, and pasta.  Our goal is to primarily work with our colleagues who are small producers in our Italian home region, Le Marche.  Whether you are looking for a gift, wanting a friendly place to sip lovely wines, or seeking a personalized wine tasting experience, join us! 

The Casal Cristiana website is changing to Fratelli Ponzi, which will eventually reflect all the products we offer in the store.  They will be soon available for purchase and delivery from the website.  In the meantime, if you are in Oregon and heading out to our beautiful wine country, please stop in.  Want to know what’s coming up in special events, wine flights, and other exciting news?  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.  Well, a 2 ½ hour drive, just came in under 2 hours with Michel at the wheel and my writing time is up.  As we make our transition and re-entry into business back in Oregon, please reach out to say hello.  We’d love to hear from you.

Alla prossima!  Until next time!

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