Paso Robles is undoubtedly known for its many acres of local vineyards. Yet, olive oil farms are California’s hidden gems. Where grapes grow, so do olives. Pair some of your newly selected wines with local olive oils drizzled over freshly baked breads, pasta, and other specialty foods. Indulge in all of this culinary majesty, all while taking in the breathtaking Paso Robles scenery.
The olive tree has been recorded in history since 8,000 BC in the Mediterranean region, as people have found its fruit to be a source for both food and healing. In ancient literature, Homer even refers to olive oil as “liquid gold.” The same can be said for the olive oil from the Golden State’s local orchards today. Californian olive oil production dates back to the early 1800s and has been known for its fine quality, reminiscent of the quality made in the Mediterranean area.
While farmers plant rows of olives to produce a variety of different olive oils, many store-produced olive oils that say “extra virgin” on the label, may not actually be. Oftentimes, these brands include a chemical called benzene- a toxic solvent that is used to extract as much oil as possible- and other inexpensive, diluting substances such as peanut oil. Tasting freshly-produced olive oil will offer your palette an entirely new experience and you will never be ready to return to the store-bought brands.
Similar to the wine tasting experience, many olive oil farms offer tours of the facilities in addition to having fully catered tasting rooms.
There’s an additional treat to tasting olive oil varieties: Many farms drip the olive oil of your choice with a splash of sea salt over vanilla bean ice cream, presenting a treat that a passerby can never deny! The savory flavors from the oils and the salt strengthen the sweetness of the ice cream, creating a delicious sensation for your taste buds.
A few of Paso Robles’ olive oil farms with tasting include:
- Alta Cresta Orchard & Inn
- Kiler Ridge Olive Oil Farm
- Mt. Olive Organic Farm
- Olivas de Oro Olive Company
- Olive Diva
- We Olive
The creativity behind olive oil production extends even beyond delicious dining. The oils from olive plants can also create luxury bath products, which are also available for sale at many of the area’s orchards.