Rocio Olbes Has Fab Lunches Inspired by Portugal -


Rocio Olbes Ressano grew up in home that was a venue for many parties. “My mother entertained a lot, so it is not something I particularly started but rather something that I continue to do. Naturally, I am still learning, exploring and growing.” Now that she runs her own household, which she shares with husband Antonio, Rocio is bringing her own brand of elegance and fun to lunches and dinners that she puts together for family and friends. “On an average I would say we entertain twice a month or so. My mother-in-law is the wife of an ambassador, so she definitely encourages me to entertain and open my home to friends, family and colleagues.”

Elements from her husband’s homeland of Portugal influence most of her soirees. “We tend to use a lot of our blue and white Portugese Vista Alegre china, linens and tableware. It’s beautiful to bring something from his culture to our home,” says the gracious host who insists that an exceptional dessert and a fully stocked bar are essential to any successful party. She credits Carmela from Casa San Luis Pastries and Delightful Miss Joyce for always supplying her with delicious desserts, most of which are almost too pretty to eat. Chef Jessie Sincioco and Happy Concepts Group are caterers often enlisted to help in food preparations. Despite the expert help, Rocio will also make sure to include one or two dishes created in her own kitchen. “This will give it a personal touch,” she explains. “Every home has a signature dish and homemade specialty. As of now our gazpacho from my husband’s grandmother’s recipe is a smash hit.”

Rocio advices, “Match your menu to your wine. I am admittedly not a wine expert but I have good friends and a husband who are. Never be afraid to call and ask for suggestions from those who have more knowledge. After all, it’s all about learning.” A keen eye for detail has also allowed Rocio to establish entertaining trademarks unique to the Ressano residence. “Pay more attention to your music. It serves as background and set the tempo, energy and vibe for your gathering. Music selection is just as important as your menu. We also make sure Gaucho (our mini teddy bear Pomeranian) is brushed, fluffed and ready for guests. He loves company and is always ‘paw-ty’ ready.” A curated selection of Porto or digestif is often served to end meals to accompany more good times and conversation. 

Rocio considers desserts to be an essential element for a successful lunch
Rocio considers desserts to be an essential element for a successful lunch
Blue and white Vista Alegre china and monogrammed linens are Portugese elements that Rocio likes to place on her table
Blue and white Vista Alegre china and monogrammed linens are Portuguese elements that Rocio likes to place on her table


Ressano Family Recipe for Gazpacho 


2 pounds ripe red tomatoes (cored and cut into chunks)

1 cubanelle pepper or other variants of a long, light green pepper (cored, seeded and cut into chunks)

1 cucumber (peeled and roughly cut into chunks)

1 small mild onion (white or red), peeled and cut into chunks

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste (optional to add more for drizzling


Place the tomatoes large mixing bowl. 

Add the cucumber, pepper, onion, garlic clove, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and stir to combine. 

Transfer mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed.

Baked Brie with Fig Jam 


4 tablespoons fig jam or preserves, divided

1/2 cup dried mission figs (sliced)

1/2 cup shelled pistachios (chopped)

* 1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

* French brie


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place the fig jam/preserves in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for 30 seconds to soften.

3. In a small bowl, combine the sliced dried figs with the nuts. Add half of the fig jam and mix well to coat the nut mixture.

4. Place brie in a small cast iron skillet or oven-safe dish. Using a knife, coat the brie with the remainder of the jam.

5. Top the brie with the fig and nut mixture.

6. Place the brie dish on a baking sheet. Bake in 375 degree F-heated oven for 10 minutes (or until brie starts to ooze, but not melt).

7. Serve warm with your favorite crackers!

Text by Bianca Salonga
Photography by Yukie Sarto


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