Piquant in Paso: Olive Festival

Two June-nice days, so many oils to try.

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THERE ARE SOME FOODSTUFFS... in this edible-lush world that aren't, on the whole, about "a little bit" in any shape or form. They can dominate any dish, when added, and they don't do that well at disappearing into the bigger, plate-filling picture. The olive, however, sits pertly at the opposite end of that scenario. It's small, we don't need to tell you, with some olives appearing to be no larger than the pit of a bigger olive. And, chopped up? The olive can vanish into a salad, and go nearly unseen, though its salty chewiness will tell the mouth (even if the eyes missed it). Which ultimately means, of course, that olivests, those people who need to have an olive (or several, many, lotsa of olives) each day, can fold these plump little orbs into practically any pasta, soup, or cold dish, all without the olive dominating or distracting. If this is you — if you're an olive adder, an olive eater, and you typically have about eight open jars going at once, in the refrigerator door — best saddle your ride and arrive in...

LOVELY PASO ROBLES... over the first Friday and Saturday of June. That's Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3, and while the 14th Annual Paso Robles Olive Festival will olive-up Paso's Downtown City Park on June 3, you may want to arrive a day early, on June 2, for a Social Mixer, which will include vinos from the area, and, hold onto your favorite olive jar, an olive-tasting bar, too. Mmm. At the big fest, seek out the chef-led demonstrations, the olive-themed competition, and the free olive oil ice cream. Wine, of course, will be in the bottles, glasses, hands, and eventually tummies at the park, too, which is no shocker: This is wine country, and even the olive needs to slide over and make a bit of room for its old friend, the grape. For the full schedule, and how to find the olives of your dreams, and the next olives you'll slice up for a salad, lasagna, or enchiladas? Turn your olive-loving gaze upon the Central Coast destination.

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