In two weeks, I’ll be in Italy. I love to travel, and I’ve been to Europe twice, but this’ll be my first time to visit Italy. To say I’m excited and can’t stop thinking/talking/casually bringing it up in random conversation with strangers would be an understatement.
My parents — whose idea of a great vacation is limited to Disney World, Hawaii and Hilton Head, S.C. — don’t really understand my giddiness. In fact, dear old Mumsy shared her Italian travel advice thusly: “It’s really stinky.” I countered that she’d probably be pretty ripe, too, if she were thousands of years old.
Anyway, Italy: None of you may be able to go with me (see the sponsor of today’s column above), but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a bit of Italy right here in the metro.
In Edmond, Teaoli (1389 E. 15th; 348-5566) has been open just a couple of months, but is already something special. It’s owned by Larry and Tamara Rhoads (who also own Inspirations and the Two Hearts Inn — which has a Tuscany suite!) and deals exclusively in tea, olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
The extra virgin olive oils (imported from Italy) and balsamic vinegars are housed in big tin dispensers, called fustis, which allow you to sample the many varieties, like blood orange olive oil or fig balsamic. Each drum is labeled with a description — there are 18 olive oils and 19 balsamic vinegars — and pairing suggestions.
Teaoli is hosting tastings and demonstrations May 3 and 5, so give them a call to make reservations.
Spring Creek is apparently the place to shop for Italian finds, because Paper Lion (1389 E. 15th; 348-0952) has a lovely collection of Italian ceramics from Vietri. The dishware is classic, but has touches of quirkiness, like small dishes shaped like small leaves.
I also loved the collection of very pretty Rosanna ceramics that use artwork and antique prints from 18th-century Italy (plus 19th-century England and France) in its designs. The delicate plates and cups are done in lovely, vintage colors that give it that Victorian nature guide feel.
Finally, jewelry: I’ve done a ton of research into possible buys and thought I’d found the perfect goldsmith. It was a family shop that could trace its business back hundreds of years and produced really gorgeous pieces. Then I looked at the prices and choked. So, yeah, I don’t think I’ll be buying.
Closer to home, Artwear (1466 S.
Bryant; 359-7985) in Edmond carries Italian jewelry from two lines, Del Oro and EMG Creations, a NYC company that imports Italian jewelry.
I loved the Del Oro rings — showstopping onyx pieces set with stones surrounded by 18-carat gold bezel. Lovely. Also check out a really unique sterling silver necklace (the chain is really cool) with a silver and gold pendant by EMG.
With all this, it’ll almost be like you’re hopping on the vaporetto in Venice with me. Almost.