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Table olives

OZAJ

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Mozarabe/VdlP/Sanabres (2008) Norte (2009) Vezelay/Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2010) etc.
Here in Australia we get first rate Spanish table olives. There is a producer at Port Macquarie not far from where I live, though sadly he has retired and I don't know what has happened to his business. He grew Manzanillo olives which he pickled, bottled and sold at local markets. Absolutely wonderful.

I have had fairly good spiced olives in Spain, but never have I had a decent plain black olive. The tinned supermarket olives are ... to my taste, rubbish. I have tried to unearth something better, but without success.

Why is this?

Where are the good olives?
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
We get great Spanish olives and other items from these guys in Sydney.
Doesn't help you up the coast though I guess.......

Morcilla, Jamon.........they have all the 'goodies'..

 
Where are the good olives?
My experience in buying olives in Spain suggests that they are best when purchased at farmers' markets. There you will often find an overwhelming selection of different types of olives, cured in different ways (e.g., sun dried, in oil, in brine, etc.) and prepared in a seemingly endless variety of ways (e.g., with hot or sweet peppers, herbs, or garlic, stuffed with anchovies, in a mix with gherkins and pickled onions, etc.). You are correct: the selection of olives available at most supermarkets leaves much to be desired.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I'd say that the good black olives are found in the South of France, between Nice and surrounding area, and the Italian border. The Greeks have excellent ones too.

Though I do remember some very decent ones in the Balearic Islands and near Barcelona.

I did get some pleasantly edible dark green ones in Western Castilia and Portugal this year.
 
Here in Australia we get first rate Spanish table olives. There is a producer at Port Macquarie not far from where I live, though sadly he has retired and I don't know what has happened to his business. He grew Manzanillo olives which he pickled, bottled and sold at local markets. Absolutely wonderful.

I have had fairly good spiced olives in Spain, but never have I had a decent plain black olive. The tinned supermarket olives are ... to my taste, rubbish. I have tried to unearth something better, but without success.

Why is this?

Where are the good olives?
The olives like Kalamata from Greece are typically brined at the black stage. In Spain and Portugal, the locals don't have much taste for olives brined at that stage. So they're either picked green, and cured/bottled/served as a starter, or allowed to go black for pressing as olive oil.

So plain black olives at the table are not really an Iberian thing. The canned ones are more like North American canned olives. They have olive texture, but not really much olive taste. Develop a taste for green olives! Some of the home-cured/marinated ones with lemon peel or various herbs are really, really good.
 
The olives like Kalamata from Greece are typically brined at the black stage. In Spain and Portugal, the locals don't have much taste for olives brined at that stage. So they're either picked green, and cured/bottled/served as a starter, or allowed to go black for pressing as olive oil.

So plain black olives at the table are not really an Iberian thing. The canned ones are more like North American canned olives. They have olive texture, but not really much olive taste. Develop a taste for green olives! Some of the home-cured/marinated ones with lemon peel or various herbs are really, really good.
This is the best answer I have had to my question - not just on this forum. "Plain black olives at the table are not really an Iberian thing".

On the bus route from Madrid to Granada, one of the stops is a very nice roadhouse. One of the shops specialises in olive oil and olives. I spoke to the person in charge, explained my question about black table olives and was sold a jar of black olives which were supposed to be the best. They were no better than the tins of supermarket olives.

By way of contrast, I have had very nice spiced green olives. At one resto, I forget where, small tubs of spiced green olives were placed on each table. A Spanish couple on the next table were most impressed and asked whether the olives were "casera". They were not. I thought they were pretty good too.

But my preference is for properly cured plain black olives. Problem belong me!
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
All of these answers have really enlightened me. I've just finished walking the Via Francigena and was excited to try a green one right off the tree...big mistake. I figured the black ones would be fully ripe and delicious...nope!
All the olives were hard and small and awful.😝 I never realized they all had to be cured, etc. to be edible.
 
All of these answers have really enlightened me. I've just finished walking the Via Francigena and was excited to try a green one right off the tree...big mistake. I figured the black ones would be fully ripe and delicious...nope!
All the olives were hard and small and awful.😝 I never realized they all had to be cured, etc. to be edible.
I once visited an olive farm and the farmer offered me one, "fresh from the tree". I ate it and blergh, it was so awful. He started laughing and said they all love offering it to visitors that have no idea of how bad olives are before being cured.

Makes you wonder who was the first person who ever decided "I'll keep this green monster in a jar and try again in a month's time."
 
I once visited an olive farm and the farmer offered me one, "fresh from the tree". I ate it and blergh, it was so awful. He started laughing and said they all love offering it to visitors that have no idea of how bad olives are before being cured.

Makes you wonder who was the first person who ever decided "I'll keep this green monster in a jar and try again in a month's time."
I know! That's just plain impish!😦 It's such a horrible surprise and takes forever to get the taste out of your mouth.
I'm glad someone discovered how to make them taste remarkable.
 
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