olive blessing

Did you know that olives needed blessing? Me neither! Common throughout California, olives are most extensively cultivated fruit in the world, and about 90% of all olives are pressed for their oil. A Mediterranean fruit, some olive trees bear fruit for hundreds of years.

The eighth annual Sonoma Valley Olive Festival, a celebration of the olive harvest and an agricultural and culinary showcase, takes place December 2008 through February 2009. Enjoy a wide variety of entertaining events and tasty delights. Check out a full listing of events.

What: Blessing of the Olives
Where: Mission San Francisco Solano, 114 East Spain St. (at 1st St. E) Sonoma, CA 95476 [ Map ]
When: Saturday, December 6, 2008, 10am
How: Free!

After the blessing don’t miss the open house and tastings at:
The Olive Press
24724 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476 [Map]
10am-5:30pm

More events include dinners, tastings, tours, community olive pressings, curing seminars and a book signing. Online you’ll find Olives 101, a guide to olive oil grades, buying tips, popular varieties, facts and recipes.

Here is a recipe for marinated olives I hope you’ll enjoy:

Marinated Olives

Ingredients:
1/2 pound Kalamata olives
1/4 pound feta cheese
1/2 lemon
1–2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white vermouth

Preparation:
Drain and pit the olives and place in a mixing bowl. Cut the feta into roughly 1/2-inch cubes and add to the olives. Finely dice the whole lemon including the peel, remove any pits and mince the garlic. Add lemon and garlic to the olives and feta along with the olive oil and vermouth. Allow to marinate for at least 1 day, adjust seasoning to your liking.

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