Olive You, Sylmar

A two-day festivity spotlights a certain juicy, pit-centered orb.


ONE JUICY DELIVERY SYSTEM: A lot of wisecrackers like to describe certain foods as excellent delivery systems for other foods. Crackers are often cited by the wisecrackers, yes, as are potato chips, pitas, pretzels, and any other edible product on which dip or salsa or nuts or cheese may be placed. The wisecracky bit of this is, of course, that the delivery system food plays second fiddle -- foodle? -- to whatever the "good" thing it is delivering. But one foodstuff that can and does play the delivery system role but which will never be relegated to second-fiddlery is the olive. Right? It is true that the olive very often contains something in its hollow, pit-removed middle: pimentos, yes, but truffle cheese, garlic paste, chiles, or anything else that can be consumed and happens to be malleable enough to fit inside a small space. But the olive itself is so delicious, so savory, and, yep, meaty even, that we fete it several times a year around the state. Sylmar has hosted a long-running -- 35 years -- olive festival, which is set to roll again, on Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22.

COSTUMES, CONTESTS, AND OILS: The family-and-food-focused to-do has lots of other things on offer beyond olives, but let's start with the star of the show. An olive tasting is on the roster, as are "Olives of the World." Yum. A costume contest spotlight ancient Rome'll go down as well as sidewalk chalk art, tunes, games, eating competitions, dance performances, and all the sweet things you want at a tasty fair on the first weekend of autumn. Plus lots and lots of olive oils to buy. That's another popular delivery system, right? Olive oil? Basil and rosemary and thyme and every herb in the garden. It's a wonder that sweeter, sugarier oils haven't taken off, or are they the next big thing? Just goes to show that what we sometimes view as the edible delivery system is the absolute star in its own right.

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