"Having a quest helps you experience the beauty of a place," says clothing designer Norma Kamali, whose search for the world's best olive oils took her all over Europe. It also inspired her to launch an olive-based line of soaps, exfoliants, and artisanal oils (Norma Kamali, 11 W. 56th St., New York, N.Y.; 212/957-9797; www.barxv.com). Here, the peripatetic trailblazer reveals three of her favorite discoveries.
1. "The Spanish province of Jaén produces much of Europe's olive oil. I love the Casería San José de Úrtar [Km. 4, Carr. Jimena Albanchez de Mágina; 34-9/53-35-74-74; doubles from $58], a 10-room inn with a grove that extends as far as the eye can see." 2. "The Château Virant (Route de St. Chamas, Lançon de Provence; 33-4/90-42-44-47; www.chateauvirant.com) is 25 miles from Aix-en-Provence and is the only property in France to produce both oil and wine." 3. "Women I met along the way told me secrets. One in Sicily said that to keep your marriage together, 'you massage your husband with oil.' In the south of France, I even learned how to cure an upset stomach with olive leaf tea—then made my own for my collection."