Italia in a Flash: Olives

More than a martini garnish or a pizza topping, olives have been cultivated for the last 5,000 or more years and are deserving of the lore that follows this precious fruit. And during Passport Italy they are getting their turn in the spot light.

Here is a quick fresher to help you find the perfect olive.

All olives start out green. Depending on the varietal’s flavor profile it may be harvested green, in the turning-color stage (blond) or when fully ripened (black). Each olive has a unique textures that vary from firm and crisp to tender and buttery all the way to smooth and velvety.

Flavor factors:
  • Young and very green: fresh and grassy (Castelvetrano)
  • Maturing and mossy green: mellow and herbal (Puglia)
  • Fully ripened: complex, rich, dense, fruity and smoky with a pleasant bitterness (Alfonso, Black Cerignola)
Traditional curing methods include oiling, brining, drying, and watering.
Choosing between pasteurized versus unpasteurized olives should definitely be something you consider when choosing which olives you want to take home from the . Pasteurization can mask flavor, color and even texture of the olive. We feature a large assortment of fresh unpasteurized olives that give you full flavor, less salt, and true texture.
Five Ways to Eat
  • Puglia olive mix has aromatic garlic and sweet red peppers; ideal with Taleggio cheese.
  • Castelvetrano are meaty and juicy with a mild, sweet flavor. Great addition to Mediterranean seafood dishes, pizza, or salads.
  • Cerignola are great with young Pecorino.
  • Try Bolzano salami with Alfonso olives.
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