The lowly olive is one of the world's greatest and most historically
coveted foods. Throughout history, the olive tree has been the
subject of mythology, a sign of longevity, and a source for
excellent wood. From the olive flows olive oil, a precious commodity
that was used historically for food, fuel, the anointing of
kings, industrial lubricant, medicinal balm, soap manufacture,
and polishing finely cut diamonds.
The fruit of the olive tree, the olive itself, has been eaten
for centuries (ever since people learned how to tame the raw,
inedible olive and make it edible by removing its inherent
bitterness). There exists an enormous variety of olives, and
endless ways of curing, flavoring, and marinating the olive.
There is an ever increasing number of olive varieties being
shipped world wide, which thankfully, gives the gourmet an
ever increasing choice.
A Greek olive not unlike a French Nicoise olive. Its color
ranges in color from purple to black. It is a small olive
with little flesh.
This green olive originates in Spain in the Andalousia district.
It is medium sized with a flavor reminiscent of almonds. It
goes particularly well with tapas and sherry.
These are very small, even tiny olives that are a medium brown
color. They originate in Spain (the Siurana district in Catalonia)
and are characterized by a small amount of pleasantly bitter
flesh on each olive. They are always brine cured. This olive
is also prized for making excellent olive oil.
A variety of Greek olives that originate from the city of
Kalamata in the Southern Peloponnese of Greece. Kalamata olives
are pickled in wine vinegar. The pickling process develops
a very pronounced flavor of salt and vinegar. They have a
very meaty flesh which is strong in flavor.
A Spanish olive from the Aragon district. It is brine cured,
deep brown, and tender fleshed.
From the Italian Cuneau district, this is a very large and
meaty olive with a delicate flavor.
A variety of olive that is always sold green. It is medium
size, elongated and has its origins in the south of France.
Its flavor is mild and nutty.
Often cured in sea salt in order to draw out the moisture
from the olive over a period of several weeks. After this
period is ready to eat. Typically these olives are stored
in a little olive oil.
These are very large purplish olives. They have a distinctive
Named for the small seaside town in Greece, this is a small,
green olive with a nutty flavor.
French Nicoise olive. Its color ranges in color from purple
to black. It is a small olive with little flesh.
A famous black olive from Greece. It has a moderately pungent
and "deep" flavor.
Named for the town of Atalanti in eastern Greece on the Aegean
Sea. These green olives are rather pale/gray in color, medium
round, and have a "zingy" flavor.
Courtesy of: ChefTalk.com