Olives Rock: Sylmar’s Tangy Festival

The wee fruit has its flavorful day (as does music, food, chalk art, more).

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PEEK AND SEE: If you favor libations that arrive with a couple of olives on a colorful cocktail pick, do you pause, even before the first sip, to peek at what the stuffing of the olives might be? You might just see a red pimento inside the hollow orb, or a bit of blue cheese, or a lemon rind, or, with larger olives, a combo stuffing situation. It's a testament to the tastiness of this ancient and eternally loved edible, that regardless of what it is paired with drink-wise, or stuffed with cheese/fruit-wise, it has a lot of presence. Perhaps that's one reason that people adore it so, and sprinkle it liberally on just about everything, from salads to enchiladas to pizzas (and yes, in potent beverages, too). It's no surprise that California boasts a few olive-themed festivals, but they don't all flower at once come the spring and the summertime. Sylmar's olive-themed festival kicks off autumn with flavor and fun and an array of foodstuffs, landing on the last weekend of September. That's...

SEPT. 24 AND 25TH, and a host of makers and purveyors'll be out with soaps and oils and jars of gourmet bites that are both zesty and tangy (two requirements of an ideal olive). Kid to-dos, live music, and wine and beer on the pour also give the El Cariso Park party verve, and food for sale ups the fair-style eating choices (think tacos, kettle corn, funnel cake, and such). Best clear a spot on the cupboard shelf, though, before you go, so you can return with a few new finds, briny bites that'll up your next salad's game or add oomph to your calzones. And as for finding your next cocktail olive stuffed with something offbeat? That's the trend, and has been for awhile now, so count on the olive forever pair well with a host of interesting edibles, from goat cheese to jalapeños to oranges. The sky, or rather the olive shelf, is truly the limit.

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