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Olive experts, help!

esquimeaux Apr 6, 2008 11:12 AM

I have very little olive knowledge, and strangely, Google is not helping much for once. My sister once brought back a container of olives for me from Napa Valley, and they were the yummiest things I've ever eaten. I've never liked olives because I thought they were too salty and strong-tasting. But these were nutty and buttery and wonderful. Light green in color, with seeds intact. What's the name for this type of olive, so I can buy them in vast quantities? I remember I couldn't walk past the fridge without popping one in my mouth...

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  1. Frommtron RE: esquimeaux Apr 6, 2008 11:27 AM

    It sounds like they are either picholines, manzanillas, or, most likely, the cadillac of olives -- luques (pronounced luke).

    I recommend going to Whole Foods and sampling things at their olive bar to see what matches.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Frommtron
      esquimeaux RE: Frommtron Apr 6, 2008 05:48 PM

      whenever i am faced with varieties of olives, i try to find "my" olive, but hate doing it because i have to put so many salty, un-tasty (to me) things in my mouth! but if it will help to end my quest, i guess i'll have to suck it up. thanks for the tip!

      1. re: Frommtron
        rworange RE: Frommtron Apr 6, 2008 06:15 PM

        Maybe picholines. I agree Whole Foods is a good start for your search.

      2. c
        caviar_and_chitlins RE: esquimeaux Apr 6, 2008 01:45 PM

        How big were they? Picholines and Arbequinas are smaller, while green Cerignolas are quite large. Also- what shape? I know, olive shaped.. :p but I really like an Italian olive called Castelvetrano, and it's more round like a little ball than oblong.

        I agree with the other poster, Luques are dreamy good, but generally seasonal.

        2 Replies
        1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
          esquimeaux RE: caviar_and_chitlins Apr 6, 2008 05:51 PM

          they were definitely not small, but i don't know if they were especially large, i'm just not familiar enough with olives. and not at all like a ball. thanks to you both, i'm going to look up luques now!

          1. re: esquimeaux
            Frommtron RE: esquimeaux Apr 6, 2008 05:53 PM

            I can't spell -- Lucques with a 'c'.

        2. c
          caviar_and_chitlins RE: esquimeaux Apr 6, 2008 08:48 PM

          Oh- I had another thought!

          Do you think they were a CA grown olive, or something sent from the Dean & Deluca in Napa- they have great olives, but knowing where she bought them would help immensely.

          1. Olives101 RE: esquimeaux Apr 7, 2008 10:14 PM


            There is actually almost 900 different varietals of Olives in the world but only 30 to 40 are commonly knows and used.

            From your description, if this "Whole Green Olives" grown in California, the most common used in this area are "Mission Olives" or "Manzanilla Olives",

            Otherwise it can be as follow :
            If the form is sharpen, it's probably a Picholine :
            Moroccan Picholine or French and/or Italian Lucque or Lucquoise (very expensive).

            If it's oval, it can be "Beldi" from Morocco, "Manzanilla" "Alberquina" from Spain.

            Then, the packaging make a difference! is it plastic tray/pail, cans?

            There is so many varietals that without more details, it's difficult to help you, so if you have some of these Olives left, the best thing to do will be to post a picture + details in reply here or by email to us at olives101 (at) gmail (dot) com.

            I hope it help.


            1. Caroline1 RE: esquimeaux Apr 8, 2008 06:44 AM

              My suspicion is that you fell in love with the cure as much as the olives. If you grew up on and were used to California style canned olives, black or green, my guess is that that is your problem.

              Judging from the discussion threads you've particpated in as shown on your profile page, I would have to guess you live in the L.A. area. You should be able to find shops with huge assortments of fresh olives. Normally, you can sample your way through their entire inventory. Maybe you'll strike gold! Your sister is no help?

              1. maria lorraine RE: esquimeaux Apr 9, 2008 11:34 PM

                I live in Napa Valley, and I bet you mean Graber olives. They're meaty and very buttery, and have a much higher fat content than other olives. They're used a lot here in Napa Valley because they seem to dissolve that puckery sensation in your mouth that comes from the oak tannins in young red wine -- needed particularly if you're tasting a lot of red wines that still need aging.

                Here's a picture, and you can order online at

                1 Reply
                1. re: maria lorraine
                  caviar_and_chitlins RE: maria lorraine Apr 10, 2008 06:12 AM

                  Interesting m_l, I wonder what variety those olive are....

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