Olive experts, help!
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...
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.
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.
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.
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?
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