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Olives reviewed

I used to buy those little plastic pots of olives from time to time as a treat.  Then I worked out that actually, those are ridiculously expensive.  Much cheaper to buy a huge (recyclable) glass jar that contains about 6 times as many olives.   But, which jar?  

Taggiasca olives.  These black were billed as 'classic Italian olives in sunflower oil and olive oil with oregano' which sounds lovely, but actually they are quite foul.  They have huge stones, and their thin flesh is sort of flabby in texture, with a nasty aftertaste.  Strong suspicion that these are the dregs of the Italian crop dressed up posh for the British market. 

Picholine Olives  - green French olives, stone in.  These are pleasingly crunchy, with little stones and lots of flesh with a nice smooth rich flavour and not much aftertaste. 

Crespo pitted green olives in brine - what I think of as as a standard olive.  Bit of a crunch to it, nice and salty, handy they are pitted so you can chop them. 

Crespo pitted black olives in brine - I thought I didn't like black olives as much as green ones, but actually these are really nice, they have a nice rounded fruitiness to them. 

Waitrose Spanish pitted green queen olives - These are very large and have a good crunch to them - nice olives to add to a salad, but I felt they didn't have quite as much flavour as the Picholine French olives. 

Greek Kalamata black olives (in brine and wine vinegar).   These are very different.  No crunch at all, an almost meaty combination of rich flavour and squishy texture, and a strong aftertaste.  Similar in some ways to the Taggiasca olives I didn't like, but with more interest to them.   I'm not sure I'd like to eat a *lot* of these, but one or two among other olives makes a fascinating contrast.   I suspect they'd be good as a flavouring too.

Large green olives stuffed with garlic  - these may be my favorite so far.  The olive has a crunch, the garlic has a different crunch, the flavours work together really nicely.  From a small delicatessen in Tavistock, so no further info on origin, and they were relatively expensive so don't really fit the 'buy a big jar' model. 

Cracked green Spanish olives - large, salty, stone-in.  Not much crunch, though they definitely have more solidity to them than the Kalamata olives, for example.  Quite a strong olive flavour.  You wouldn't want to eat piles of them, but one or two are very pleasant.  Not sure what the point of the cracking is, they just look slightly bruised.  Also from the small delicatessen in Tavistock. 

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ideserveyou
7th Mar, 2012 20:33 (UTC)
Mmmmm, olives... I am currently addicted to the Co-op 'irresistible' green ones with sundried tomatoes in the middle... and yes, the Crespo ones are a standard standby in my cupboard.
Only trouble with having a huge jar is that you end up eating more olives though!
bunn
7th Mar, 2012 20:41 (UTC)
Hmmm... This is clearly some unusual use of the word 'problem' that I've not previously encountered. :-D
ideserveyou
7th Mar, 2012 22:25 (UTC)
It's only really a problem when you empty the whole jar!

Greek Kalamata olives (the purply pointy ones) are worth trying too.

And I have a neat little Italian metal thingy we bought on holiday - no idea what its name is but it works like a dream - for taking the pits out of olives. You sit the olive in a sort of little cup and then squeeze the handle and it sticks a spike through the olive that forces the stone out. Good for cherries too. (The Italians are brilliant at kitchen gadgets. I'd like to be able to afford enough truffles to warrant having one of those special Italian graters for cutting wafer-thin shavings off them...)

*is hungry now*
bunn
8th Mar, 2012 10:46 (UTC)
Hmmm, that sounds nifty.

I am working my way through jars of olives and intend to add all of the ones I try to this post. that way I might actually remember which ones I like...
ningloreth
8th Mar, 2012 00:04 (UTC)
I was going to suggest Kalamata olives, but I see that ideserveyou has beaten me to it!

It's worth poking around Aldi, too. They often have jars of green olives in oil with herbs and garlic...
bunn
8th Mar, 2012 11:08 (UTC)
Mmmmmmmm olives.

Though slowly the big shops are creeping out to my rural fastness, I don't yet have a local Aldi. We do have a Lidl, a Tesco, and a Morrisons so it may only be a matter of time - 10 years ago when we moved here, it was Coop or Somerfield unless you wanted to go to Plymouth!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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