The Olives of Los Olivos

Spend the first Saturday in June at one of the prettiest towns in any wine country.

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IT'S IN THE NAME: If you're a fan of food festivals, the kind of weekend-sweet gatherings that feature local chefs and regional wineries and the stroll-about, taste-about vibe that suits a Saturday well, you probably research directions online before heading out to the car (and your adventure). And as you pass the exits, and the off-ramps, you might start to ask your companion what the town was called, the one with the fest. For the most part, the food festival and the town that's hosting it won't share a similar name, but there is a juicy, oil-yummy, pit-tastic exception: The annual Los Olivos Jazz and Olive Festival. Nope, "olivos" doesn't mean jazz, but it does summon an olive tree to mind, which is good, since olives are one of the star eats at this just-after-Memorial-Day party. And if smooth sounds and smooth-skinned fruits are two of your favorite things, then clear your calendar for Saturday, June 4 and head for...

THE SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, which is the home spread of this pocket-sized, perfectly pretty, perfectly walkable wine burg. Ah yes, wine will naturally be on the pour, with some 30 or so vineyards making a presence at the town-wide celebration. Keep the "30" in mind as you search out olive-y goodness, for chefs'll create about 30 dishes that have olives as a theme. And local sudser Figueroa Brewing Company will also be in the house (or, rather, on the quaint streets of the quaint town). There are a few succulent olive to-dos around California, but this one's about as wine-country-licious as they come. That a breezy June Saturday is involved, and live tunes, and local vino, and a town with "olive" in its very name, serves to further the fun charm of the day. What's nearby? Solvang, Buellton, Los Alamos, and, across the hills, Santa Barbara, meaning there's a whole weekend to plan, in addition to the all-important eating of olives.

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