Olives Rule in Paso Robles

The wee fruits are the star of a daylong August confab.

NO JUDGMENT: We would never cock an eyebrow in the direction of anyone who hovers near the start of most any celebration's buffet table, where all of the platters of cheese cubes and bread squares reside. Why do we forgo the eyebrow-cockery? Because we are that person. We are probably all that person at some point, the reveler who would rather sample every cheddar twice, every crudite, and, yes, every olive. Have you ever dominated the olive dish? Not just at a friend's house, but, say, the wedding of a distant cousin? Again, no side glances here: We are that person. Olives are the ultimate easy-to-eat food, save the later pit disposal. Eat one, eat five, eat a dozen, and soon your halfway through the dish, a dish that was meant for everyone in attendance. There are only a few full-on olive affairs for people who dominate the dish, and one lands in Paso Robles each August. It is, in fact, the Olive Festival, and the wine country town couldn't be better suited for celebrating a shiny orb that goes perfectly with every vintage, red or white or a little of both.

DATE AND DETAILS: The olive-iest day of the year on the Central Coast falls on Saturday, Aug. 16. For sure, there'll be interesting things to look upon, like an olive oil press. (Seriously, when will every home have its own?) There shall be olive oil ice cream to eat. There will be olive oil products -- soaps and beyond beyond beyond -- to smell and touch and purchase. And cuisine? Yeah, there's that. We only take a slightly sassy tone because given that Paso is plunk in the middle of wine country, they've got the good food end of the spectrum covered. There's a contest, too, involving cooking and olives.

OH, AND ABOUT THAT WINE PART... Are you honestly going to venture to the Central Coast without visiting some vineyard? No? Good. This'll help you plot your grape-nice route following all of that olive consumption.

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