SEASON OF THE OLIVE FINALE WEEKEND IN SONOMA VALLEY

By Tamara Gorman Strasser

The sixteenth annual Sonoma Valley Olive Season, a celebration of the olive harvest and an agricultural and epicurean showcase, has been upon us since December 2015.  Encompassing a range of exceptional events, culinary thrills and Valley-wide promotions – from the Blessing of the Olives ceremony to an elegant Feast of the Olive Dinner– the Season of the Olive promises each year to transform the winter months in Sonoma into a celebration of the senses.

On Saturday, January 2nd, the olive season began with the traditional Blessing of the Olives ceremony, set within the historic Sonoma Mission.  Following the initial weekend, key events and promotions took place Valley-wide in honor of the two-month celebration.  In addition, local restaurants and lodging properties offered olive season packages and promotions, including exclusive olive-inspired menu items and spa treatments throughout the winter months.  Throughout the Season of the Olive, visitors have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves for an olive curing workshop, attend festive events such as the annual Martini Madness competition, and enjoy an array of activities from olive oil tastings and art exhibits to live music, family activities and food and wine pairings.  A complete list of events and promotions can be found at http://www.olivefestival.com.

Season of the Olive favorites slated to return this season include the highly-anticipated Feast of the Olive Dinner on January 30, 2016 at Ramekins Culinary School.  This multi-course, olive-inspired ceremonial dinner prepared by Sonoma Valley’s finest chefs, is one of the Season’s anchor events and is a food-lover’s paradise.  Preceding Feast of the Olive, Sonoma Valley bartenders and chefs gathered to compete for the best martini at the wildly popular Martini Madness, where patrons sampled each concoction and placed their votes (January 8, 5-7 p.m., MacArthur Place Hotel).  Then, January 31st, the Season of the Olive will culminate with the Olive Season Finale Weekend, a magnificent celebration of events, dinners and tastings, including a demonstrations at Figones Olive Oil; lunch by The Girl & The Fig while visiting B.R. Cohn Winery; and at The Olive Press at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, where olive expert Don Landis and olive curers from all over California convene to offer samples, recipes, lessons and delicious olive-themed food and wine pairings.  The Season of the Olive’s Finale today is a guarantee to impress even the impossible-to-please foodie.
For a comprehensive calendar of Season of the Olive events, please visit the official website at www.olivefestival.com.

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Beloved Feast of the Olive dinner held each year at Ramekin’s Culinary School. Photo by Megan Clouse

About The Sonoma Valley Olive Season
The Sonoma Valley Olive Season, currently in its sixteenth year, is a celebration of the senses.  Taking place from December to January, the Olive Season brings special events to the Sonoma Valley, as well as a range of festival promotions with local lodging, spas, wineries, restaurants and retail shops.  For additional information on the Sonoma Valley Olive Season including event specifics and information on sponsors and participants, please contact the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau at (707) 996-1090, or visit www.olivefestival.com