Sonoma Valley, California is known for its abundant region with artistic landscape, top- notch local terrain and superb wine around the world, but one must not forget their blessed olive. Over 150 years ago, Franciscan missions made their way up through the area cultivating olive groves that still exist. Today, the region celebrates the olive with their 12th Annual Olive Festival, running from December 1st, 2012 through the end of February, 2013. Tis’ the season to honor olive cultivation and heritage with festivities and celebrations throughout the land.
The 3-month celebration kicks off December 1st, 2012 and continues through the winter season. Initiating the Festival will be the Blessing of the Olives at the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma. This cultural event is a time to enjoy music, beverages and honor ”all things olive.” Other highlights across the scenic terrain include tastings at Figone’s Olive Oil Company in Kenwood, California and B.R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Highway 12, Glen Ellen, California. With French Picholine olive groves cultivated since the 1870‘s, B.R. Cohn Winery & Olive Oil Company is the location to sample award winning olive oils and vinegar blends with their local wines, gourmet food and of course, ground zero for listening to rock musicians “The Doobies”. Figone’s, 9580 Sonoma Highway 12, Kenwood, California, is well known world wide for their heavenly blended-on-site cured oils ensured with an elite standard for their extra virgin blends.
The Olive Oil Festival found its roots in 2001 when the Sonoma Valley Visitor’s Bureau, a non-profit organization realized the olive was just as much a part of the closely knitted heritage of this abundant land as were food, wine and cheese.
The Mission olive grows well in Northern California soil. Olives are cured, pickled or placed in a salty brine. The oil is usually the prize. Olive oil has been used for healing, cooking and adding spirit to the martini.. The flavor of the Mission olive is mild, but much depends on the ripeness to determine smoothness of taste.
Promotions happening in the area include hotel discounts at Ledson’s Hotel with complimentary appetizers for guests included on their restaurant’s menu. Enjoy a wine country picnic under the heritage olive branches at the Sonoma State Historic Park close to General Vallejos’s homestead. On December 2nd, 2012 watch Figone’s newest olive oil, Olio Nueva, made in action. The Olive Press, located at 24724 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, California, will be giving tours of their facility throughout the month of December and providing artisan olive delights such as tapenades, vinegars and blended oils.
Take time to explore the region and feast on artisan fare, crafted oils and Mother Nature’s bounty. Sonoma Valley is the perfect locale to usher in the winter season with exciting events evolved around the beloved olive.