The Texas Hill Country Olive Company is located in the picturesque Hill Country town of Dripping Springs, TX. But don’t be fooled by the name – this family-owned company makes more than just tasty Texas olive oil!
Besides its amazing, award-winning products, the company offers a taste of Italy through its tours of the orchard, it makes delicious meals using locally sourced produce and creates a unique experience for every visitor.
The company was founded in 2008 by Cara and John Gambini who are 3rd & 4th generation Italian immigrants; they wanted to bring a bit of their Italian heritage to the country they now call home.
Luckily, the soil and weather conditions in Dripping Springs were similar enough to the ones in the Mediterranean for their idea to work. The soil is a rocky limestone – it is alkaline and helps with the water drainage. Because of the landscape, the orchard always has a breeze – this is ideal for the pollinator trees to spread their pollen to the nearby tree varieties.
The Gambini business was the first one in the State to win medals for their EVOO in competitions. In fact, they were awarded their first medals in 2010, just two years after founding the company and one year after planting the first trees in the orchard.
The Miller Blend has received two silver awards and one gold award in an international competition in 2020. It is a robust extra virgin Texas olive oil that starts off green and grassy and finishes with a nutty and peppery taste. It is a blend of Arbequina and Mission olives which makes it a robust and fresh companion for salads, French baguettes, and a glass of red wine.
The Super Greek has a suggestive name – it is made with a single variety, Koroneiki, that is specific to Greece. However, this particular extra virgin Texas olive oil that was born in the Lone Star State has received two silver awards for its unique fruity and peppery taste. It pairs perfectly with Greek Feta cheese, and it makes excellent marinades for chicken and fish.
And speaking of pairings, let’s not forget how well EVOO and balsamic vinegar go together. Luckily, you can buy both from the same award-winning company; just last year, they launched a new variety, the Bourbon Reserve Balsamic Vinegar, with a rich taste and subtle spicy notes.
It all starts with the traditional balsamic vinegar that is produced on-site before being aged in Bourbon barrels. The finest quality barrels are sourced from the Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, TX to make this versatile balsamic vinegar. It is perfect in a marinade for grilled meat, drizzled over a fresh salad, or even on top of a scoop of ice cream.
The Texas Hill Country Olive Company offers three types of tours: a tasting tour where visitors can sample their delicious products; a walking tour of the orchard and mill where visitors will learn about how the products are made; private tours for special events.
The tastings take place on the farm, in the Tuscan-style tasting room. Here, visitors can try a wide variety of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and infused oils; the homegrown products are paired with a compilation of small bites for a complete, tantalizing treat for the taste buds. The tasting tours take 30-45 minutes and can be booked Wednesday through Friday.
Weekends at the farm are ideal for walks through the orchard with one of the savvy guides; tree planting techniques, harvesting, and the company’s history are valuable pieces of information included in the tour. The orchard and mill tours take 30-45 minutes and can be booked on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Walking tours at the orchard are the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind while also learning a thing or two about the environment and the industry. The tour also includes the farm-to-table garden and chicken coup – this is where the on-site bistro is supplied with fresh vegetables from. And yes, the bistro is also accessible to visitors!
The bistro at the Texas Hill Country Olive Co. is the perfect way to end a tour of the orchard and mill; however, the food is so good that many visitors come back just for that. The bistro uses fresh, farm-to-table ingredients that come either from the on-site garden or from other local farmers.
Accommodating omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike, the fine dining establishment practices sustainable food sourcing. In fact, the Gambini family has focused on preserving the natural beauty of the area and creating local partnerships with the surrounding producers ever since they bought the Dripping Springs land.
The bistro is open daily for lunch between 10:00 am and 3:30 pm. Because they use so many seasonal ingredients in their dishes, the menu changes often. However, visitors will surely find something for their taste on the menu; sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and charcuterie boards are always available.
Visitors of the Gambini farm should also stop at the on-site Gourmet Gift Shop; here, bottles of extra virgin Texas olive oil and balsamic vinegar are waiting to be put to good use when cooking delicious meals at home. The shop also carries olives and salads, dips, gourmet foods, cooking accessories, and beauty products. All locally sourced, of course!
The staff will gladly help with corporate gifts as well; through their white-glove service, the company will put together inspired gifts for any occasion and budget, and guarantee the timely delivery of the presents. They offer a variety of packaging options and personalized cards; all the gifts are hand wrapped, even for large orders.
The orchard is situated just 43 minutes away from Austin, TX. It is a great destination for any occasion, whether you are looking for a romantic escape with your partner or a fun day out with the kids. We recommend you visit whenever you’re in the area!