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memorable and worth the drive

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memorable and worth the drive


On a recent California Ripe Olive Tour, I enjoyed a whirlwind 2 days of meeting farmers and visiting olive orchards, snapping pics at [olive] plants and eating chef-inspired, olive-themed meals. We not only took in sites and bites, we filled our brain to the brim with olive facts and figures, took note of olive pairings and stood in line for blue-cheese stuffed black olive martinis Pretty renew 傳銷.

On any farm tour or food press trip, there are key points and highlights (check out ALL the photos).

A group of media writers, bloggers, and nutritionists landed on a Wed afternoon, where we were shuttled to a memorable dinner at School House Restaurant and Tavern. When my son texted me mid-meal asking about my trip, my return text said: ‘amazing menu in random tucked away city.’ This speaks volumes. First, as a trained chef I am a tad snobby and rarely deal full accolades. Second, I mean no disrespect by ‘random city.’ Coming from Seattle we are rather spoiled with divine cuisine from a line-up of talented chefs. But even high expectations [in the city] doesn’t always yield a memorable meal. In this case, our olive-studded menu from drink to dessert was divine, memorable and worth the drive.

Beyond those memorable bites of fig olive tapenade quenelles on fresh goat cheese, the most moist olive cake I have ever laid my tongue on, and an olive blue cheese compound butter that gave my grass-fed beef the topping it deserved…

… we visited the two plants that process nearly all those green and black table olives you are familiar with. California processes 95% of all the table olives you enjoy – the olives come from 1000+ farms that range in size from 5 – 1000 acres property mortgage.

As a food snob I normally skip over table olives and scoop bulk European olives from the olive bar. Sometimes being snobby means you buy brands based on perception instead of understanding. What I came to appreciate is that these olives – gorgeous on the tree – are cured and processed in a fashion similar to my home [pressure] canning but on a grander scale. In fact they aren’t inundated with chemicals or over-processed to death. They are picked often by hand, cured for 7 days, pitted and ‘canned’.  They are briny, healthy, salty and quite lovely. (A recent and now regular substitute for my salty chip and popcorn cravings bvi company registration).
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