L'OCAbulary Guide To Olives

From briny to herbaceous, olives offer a world of flavour… let’s go on a delicious journey to discover some of the most well-known varieties.

2 min read



Types of Olives

Kalamata Olives 

Origin: Peloponnese, Greece

Profile: Large and savoury, the almond-shaped dark purple Kalamata olives are packed with a pungent, true olive flavour, and a hint of bitterness.

Best Uses: Amplifies almost any salad, especially Greek salads, and adds a briny pop to pizzas and pastas.

Pairs Well With: Feta, Watermelon, Pinot Noir, Merlot.

Castelvetrano Olives - aka “Nocellara del Belice

Origin: Sicily, Italy

Profile: Irresistibly buttery, sweet, and crisp, bright green Castelvetrano olives have a firm, meaty texture.

Best Uses: Perfect for snacking, to add a burst of sweetness to a Panzanella salad, or use as an excellent martini garnish.

Pairs Well With: Pecorino, Jarlsberg, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc.

Manzanilla Olives - aka “The Little Apple"

Origin: Seville, Spain

Profile: Mild, yet tangy, small green Manzanilla olives are often stuffed with sweet pimento, feta, garlic, or an almond sliver.

Best Uses: Popular in tapenades, at home on almost any charcuterie board, delicious on their own, or use as an excellent martini garnish.

Pairs Well With: Swiss, Provolone, Cabernet, Zinfandel.

Halkidiki Olives - aka “Chalkidiki”

Origin: Mount Athos, Greece

Profile: Big, bold, and meaty, green Halkidiki olives are pleasingly sour, but have a fresh and clean finish.

Best Uses: Often stuffed and served as an hors d'oeuvre, as a snack, or in green salads.

Pairs Well With: Blue Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé.

Beldi Olives

Origin: Morocco

Profile: Small, shrivelled, and chewy with a texture reminiscent of sun-dried tomatoes, Beldi olives boast uniquely rich and smoky flavour.

Best Uses: Delectable with roasted vegetables, in couscous and other grain-based dishes and tagines.

Pairs Well With: Camembert, Gouda, Syrah/Shiraz, Tempranillo.

Gordal Olives - aka “The Fat One

Origin: Andalucía, Spain

Profile: Recognized by its enormous size and appreciated for its crisp and nutty flavour, Gordal olives delicately teeter on the balance between bitterness and saltiness.

Best Uses: Enjoy as table olive, add a delicate element to an antipasti platter, or use as an excellent martini garnish

Pairs Well With: Brie, Chevre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache.

Looking for a last-minute appetizer with olives?

Check out this super easy to make recipe!

Green Olive Tapenade