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Food glossary

Plump, juicy, delicious olives

Olives

Used mainly for their oil, olives grow in hundreds of varieties in the great olive-producing countries like Spain, Italy, France and Greece. Generally speaking, green olives are the unripe fruit, black the ripened, but there are other shades of colour available. A tree is probably 15-20 years old before it produces a paying crop but some still bear fruit 400-500 years later. Not surprisingly, olives are an essential element in Mediterranean cookery - in salads, stuffings, sauces and as an essential ingredient in the garnish for many dishes.

Greek mixed marinated olives

This combination of black and green olives is appealing to the eye as well as the tastebuds, available from the deli counter.
Uses: Serve as part of an antipasti platter with a selection of cured meats, cheeses, roasted vegetables and warm breads.
To store: Loose olives keep best in a jar, covered with olive oil for up to 1 week.

Greek pimento-stuffed olives

These popular olives, which are preserved in brine, have been grown for centuries in Greece. They are stuffed with natural red pimento which gives them a superb sweet and sour flavour.
Uses: Serve with a crisp white wine and a traditional Greek salad. Or use them to add flavour to home-made canapés or pizzas.
To store: Unopened olives in brine will keep for up to a year. Once opened store in the fridge and use within a week.

Kalamata olives

These rich purple, almond shaped olives are traditionally grown in the Kalamata region of southern Greece. They have a distinctive fruity flavour and are sold in brine with the stones in - so warn guests they haven't been removed.
Uses: The best type of olive to use in a classic Greek salad with feta cheese. Olives with stones give cooked dishes a particularly good flavour.
To store: Unopened olives in brine will keep for up to a year. Once opened store in the fridge and use within a week.

Spanish black olives à la Grècque

These dry olives have a very intense flavour - not for the faint hearted! They are sold loose at the deli counter.
Uses: Serve with a glass of chilled dry sherry either on their own or as part of tapas. They are especially good with goat's cheese and crusty bread as a light lunch.
To store: Loose olives keep best in a jar, covered with olive oil for up to 1 week.

Spanish black sliced olives

These pitted (stoned) olives are already sliced which makes them a convenient and easy to use choice. They are sold preserved in brine.
Uses: Ideal for cooking and using in recipes - sprinkle over pizzas, crostini or bruschetta.
To store: Unopened olives in brine will keep for up to a year. Once opened store in the fridge and use within a week.

Spanish green olives stuffed with almonds

These tasty olives in brine contain good quality whole almonds which provide an interesting contrast in texture.
Uses: As an appetiser or chopped in the classic Italian sauce salsa verde. They also make an unusual topping for grilled fish or chicken.
To store: Unopened olives in brine will keep for up to a year. Once opened store in the fridge and use within a week.

Spanish green olives stuffed with anchovies

These gutsy olives from the deli have a distinctive taste and add flavour to a variety of dishes.
Uses: Serve with drinks as a tasty appetiser. Particularly good in fish dishes, chicken risotto or paella.
To store: Loose olives keep best in a jar, covered with olive oil for up to 1 week.

Spanish mixed stuffed olives

These mixed Manzilla olives in brine are the best table olive in Spain. They are stuffed with a variety of ingredients, including almonds, capers, hazelnuts and pimentos. so there's something for every taste.
Uses: Serve with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles.
To store: Unopened olives in brine will keep for up to a year. Once opened store in the fridge and use within a week.

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