Your Guide for Olive Oil Tasting on the Central Coast
With the Olive Festival coming up this weekend in Paso Robles, it has got us thinking about the benefits of the olive’s miraculous oil. Research has shown that frequent use of extra virgin olive oil in cooking keeps the heart healthy and reduces chances of cancer or stroke. Furthermore, the oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, a fatty and heart-healthy diet that is the secret to longevity in many a small Greek or Italian town.
The bevy of benefits of using Extra Virgin Olive Oil is clear, but our challenge lies in finding “the real thing”. In the past ten years, it’s become known that many olive oil producers and middlemen cut down the costs of transporting premium oil by cutting it with lesser oils. An influential UC Davis study showed that “69 percent of imported olive oils labeled as extra virgin failed the International Olive Council sensory standard.” To explain, that means that most extra virgin olive oils aren’t extra virgin at all.
Fortunately for us on the Central Coast, our little slice of paradise offers a perfect climate for this fruit of the Mediterranean, with mild winters and long, warm, and dry summers. We can avoid the mis-direction of the olive oil industry by getting our oils from small, quality farms. Many local producers of olive oil along the coast that put their heart and soul into their products, guaranteeing the best quality you could ask for, and an indistinguishable smooth, peppery taste that only comes from the freshest oils. Find out more about where to taste on the Central Coast:
Where to taste on the Central Coast:
8530 Vineyard Drive
Paso Robles, CA 93446
This mainstay of the Paso Robles Olive Oil industry has been operating for about fifteen years now. Their tasting room is open seven days a week, and they invite visitors and locals to come and try their main varieties of oils, some of which are pictured below. They also sell luxurious bath and beauty products – perfect for a gift for friends and family – and specialty foods and sauces.
1111 Kiler Canyon Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446
This small family-owned farm operates on 58 acres in Paso Robles. Inspired by the fresh taste of olive oil they tried while on a biking tour of Sicily, the husband-and-wife owners planted their first 835 olive trees on their farm in Paso Robles in 2005. Now, the trees produce first-class, award winning olive oil, that you can try at their tasting room. Visit them Thursday-Monday from 11am-5pm to try olive oil and perhaps purchase some of their other exceptional products, including soap, body balm, candles, and gift boxes.
958 Higuera St
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
We Olive is a chain gourmet olive oil shop, with an additional location in Paso Robles and others scattered throughout California. They started with the goal to create a place where local growers, chefs, and guests could experience, learn about, and purchase the California-made olive oil they “came to know and love.” In addition to olive oils, some flavored and some extra virgin, We Olive sells gourmet foods and dips. Delicious concoctions like Parmesan Asiago Dip and Sweet Balsamic Mustard reflect the variety of their products and quality of their ingredients.
4455 Highway 41 East
Templeton, CA 93465
This family-run olive oil farm produces high-quality olive oil and also offers rental properties. Contact them to visit or taste, and maybe have your next event on their large property in Templeton. They also host a fun Olive Oil Class, where you’ll spend a half-day on the farm learning more about the olive oil making process and tasting olive oils like the experts, learning appropriate pairings and ways to describe the complex tastes.
2985 Templeton Rd
Templeton, CA 93465
This Templeton farm specializes in Arbequina olive oils, a Spanish olive varietal that is intense and powerful, yet delicate enough to enhance, not overpower, your dishes. Visit their tasting room to sample this and four other main oils in a quaint, cozy, and informative environment. They are open weekends from 10am – 4:30pm and weekdays by appointment.
Intrigued by all these first-rate, local, and trustworthy producers? The Olive Festival this weekend in Paso Robles is your chance to sample many of these farm’s best oils, along with the oils of smaller farms that you might not hear of otherwise. During the festival, which is in downtown Paso Robles, stay at the conveniently located Paso Robles Inn. Your wine, beer, and olive oil tasting adventures at the main festival event on Saturday could be followed by a relaxing soak in one of the Inn’s hot spring baths. Click on the link to book now.