Are you using extra virgin olive oil?
As you're saying it was bland, maybe you should try a better quality of oil as my grissini tasted a lot like the oil (which I loved) - that shouldn't be bland at all.
Depending on the thickness of your grissini, you should adjust the amount of time it should stay in the oven. I think I also did them a few minutes longer than advised in the book - can't remember exactly. Maybe that also helps in the coloring? Soft + pale = not enough bake time?