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Favorite Kind of Olive

Gigi007 Sep 19, 2009 02:53 PM

I've always been an olive lover. When I was a kid, I couldn't get enough of Lindsay black olives. Now that I'm older and have seen more of the world, I've discovered more olives to love. My current favorite is black cerignola olives. They're huge, meaty, and capture everything I like about olives--the right amount of saltiness and freshnesss. I also like green cerignola olives, which are buttery and subtle (compared to some green olives).

Do you have a favorite kind of olive? What do you like most about it and how do you usually eat them? I usually snack on cerignolas plain or put them in tomato and mozzarella caprese salads drizzled with olive oil. So delicious....

  1. s
    Steve Jul 19, 2010 08:57 AM

    Just wanted to shout out the excellent olive bar at Wegman's, the best I've seen. The bright green cerignola olives are not oily, just pure olive goodness.

    1. mariacarmen Jul 18, 2010 11:20 PM

      Nyons - those little black slightly bitter salty things - yum! like candy. also Kalamatas. and Castelvetranos. But yeah, i've been known to eat plain old supermarket black olives right out of the can.

      1. Perilagu Khan Jul 17, 2010 03:06 PM

        Incidentally, do olive trees grow well anywhere in the US?

        7 Replies
        1. re: Perilagu Khan
          buttertart Jul 18, 2010 07:34 AM

          California - they make oil but I haven't seen table olives from there myself.

          1. re: buttertart
            runwestierun Jul 18, 2010 12:10 PM

            I remember a neighbor always stopping at an olive store in California where they sold olives they grew, I think it was called the Olive Pit. She always brought back so many jars, she really loved them. Not so many different varieties of olives but olives stuffed with so many different things.

            1. re: runwestierun
              buttertart Jul 18, 2010 04:28 PM

              Whereabouts? Napa?

              1. re: buttertart
                Karl S Jul 19, 2010 06:00 AM

                Sonoma Valley, IIRC.

                1. re: Karl S
                  Tripeler Jul 19, 2010 06:09 AM

                  The Olive Pit is a fabulously fun place with a lot of olive products, though few of them are cheap.
                  It is on Interstate 5 north of Sacramento, about an hour or so, in the town of Corning. Definitely worth a visit if you are passing through.

                  The site is
                  and the number is
                  1-800-Olive Pit
                  Check it out.

                  1. re: Tripeler
                    Karl S Jul 19, 2010 06:40 AM

                    Ah, I was confusing Olive Pit with Olive Press, which I have visited.

          2. re: Perilagu Khan
            Passadumkeg Jul 18, 2010 04:56 PM

            PK, my bro has a geen olive tree in his yard in Vegas
            My fave is the oil cured.

          3. BigSal Jul 17, 2010 01:23 PM

            Lucques olives. Firm and buttery. I love salty, briny olives too, but these are are different and addictive eaten just plain.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BigSal
              woodleyparkhound Jul 18, 2010 09:28 AM

              I second lucques. I have given these to professed olive haters and they have even liked them. Lucques are mild and lack the strong saltiness of other olives. I only wish they were bigger!

              Having said that, I have rarely met an olive sold in a good olive bar that I didn't like. Good olives have completely spoiled me though for the cheap ones sold in jars.

            2. Perilagu Khan Jul 17, 2010 08:07 AM

              For straight up eating I love Nicoise olives. For most other purposes, including martinis, I'm parshul to kalamatas. Bitter, oil-cured olives and spiced olives in oil--both from the Med/Middle East--are also delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                runwestierun Jul 18, 2010 01:07 AM

                +1 nicoise. I am frankly surprised that this got to 50 posts before they were mentioned. Picholine, too.

              2. Tripeler Jul 17, 2010 06:42 AM

                Favorite kind of olive?
                Well, ALL of them.
                But specifically, I think the Graber olive is a fabulous invention, and the Kalamata olive in all its various forms comes closest to the ideal of olive flavor.

                1. e
                  euphoricly23 Jul 16, 2010 11:55 PM

                  I love all olives, in so many ways, but my favorite way to enjoy them are some nice, ripe kalamata olives on a wonderfully delicious mediterranean salad composed of mixed greens, roma tomatoes, red onions, peperoncini peppers, artichoke hearts, homemade garlic croutons, feta cheese with a light dash of a pesto vinaigrette . :)

                  1. DuchessNukem Jul 16, 2010 05:32 PM

                    Brand-wise: Graber olives. Never been a fan of olives in a can (no love here for canned black olives), but I think I read about these in a Chow post and had to try. Fat, buttery, meaty, addictive. First taste, I thought that they just didn't seem right, but by the third olive I was a convert.

                    Whole Foods carries them at just less than USD $6/can around here (Texas).


                    1. c
                      currentlycraving Jul 16, 2010 12:34 AM

                      castelvetrano olives might well be the most delicious olives i've ever tasted.
                      i was actually at the granville island public market (in vancouver) searching for a baguette and some cured meats and cheeses and olives to just kind of snack on, and at an italian deli counter i got to try a variety of olives. i actually shied away from them at first because of their bright green color, but i asked the counterperson for a less briny, more fruity and buttery olive and she suggested i try the castelvetranos.
                      well now my only issue is that my entire family won't stop eating them all the time!

                      the best way to describe it is that it tastes like really good extra virgin olive oil, with a slight hint of saltiness but a far cry from this olive's briny counterparts. it's a burst of fruity flavour, very mild and quite buttery and its very hard to keep your hands out of the tub, SO DELICIOUS

                      1. Soop Sep 28, 2009 06:54 AM

                        I got some olives stuffed with chiles on Saturday. Each one of them has a chile. I can handle hot food, and I figure no-one's going to put inedibly hot chiles in there, right?

                        Wrong. Bought tears to my eyes.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Soop
                          Harters Sep 28, 2009 07:16 AM


                          If they were in jar, I bet they were Turkish Cypriot - I've made that mistake before, as well.


                          1. re: Harters
                            Soop Sep 28, 2009 08:27 AM

                            Well, that's the wierdest thing; they were fresh-typed ones in a plastic tub. Like the kind you'd take on a picnic. I chose them over the usual feta etc accompanied ones, but I bet I'm not the only one to be surprised! With the chile removed they're nice enough, but I do have a small tub full of chiles I probably won't use.

                            Incidentally, they have that grassy taste reminicent of birdseyes, although I don't think I'd be here now if I'd chewed on one of them. Perhaps a milder relative though?

                        2. Fritter Sep 24, 2009 05:18 AM

                          Black or green cerignola.

                          1. g
                            Gigi007 Sep 23, 2009 06:10 PM

                            More olive photos. These are my favorite--black cerignola olives from la bella Italia:


                            I picked some up this evening along with some lemon-marinated green Sevillana olives from that dangerous market--Dean & DeLuca. They're pretty tasty too.

                            1. s
                              schrutefarms Sep 23, 2009 09:38 AM

                              Mmmm, I love olives. I use kalamata alot in cooking, and one of my favorite snack are the canned extra large black olives, stuffed with cream cheese. But my favorite olives are those really oily, wrinkly black ones, I don't know the name.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: schrutefarms
                                Gigi007 Sep 23, 2009 09:49 AM

                                The oily, wrinkly black olives you're talking about might be Moroccan. I too like snacking on canned large black olives, but since I discovered black cerignolas, I've developed a more expensive, but delicious habit! :)

                                1. re: Gigi007
                                  schrutefarms Sep 23, 2009 11:36 AM

                                  They look a bit like small prunes.

                                  1. re: schrutefarms
                                    Gigi007 Sep 23, 2009 11:43 AM

                                    Like these?:


                                    1. re: Gigi007
                                      Veggo Sep 23, 2009 12:06 PM

                                      Wow those look good. We have had fun threads about the etiquette of olive pit disposal, and in my experience those with really confident or really bad table manners get the lion's share.

                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        Gigi007 Sep 23, 2009 12:21 PM

                                        So chipmunks are etiquette experts too? LOL. Those threads sound interesting. Graceful disposal of olive pits can be a challenge. Without getting too graphic, it's possible to nibble on some kinds of olives and get rid of the pit almost without anyone noticing. And olive hogging is just bad form--a real sign of bad manners. I'll admit that olives are so addictive that I sometimes (OK, frequently) pig out on them when I'm by myself, but when I'm eating or drinking w/ others (I love a good glass of wine, yummy cheese plate, and olives on the side), I try to behave. The best is when the other person or people don't like olives. More for me! :)

                                        1. re: Gigi007
                                          Veggo Sep 23, 2009 12:28 PM

                                          At a very early age my parents told me to swallow olive pits. I learned years later that I was an unplanned child.

                                          1. re: Veggo
                                            Gigi007 Sep 23, 2009 06:05 PM

                                            Haha, that explains a lot!

                                          2. re: Gigi007
                                            Soop Sep 24, 2009 02:31 AM

                                            When I share anything with my girlfriend, I mentally divide the olives (or whatever) as I might eat faster than her. But I always leave her her half.

                                          3. re: Veggo
                                            buttertart Sep 23, 2009 02:32 PM

                                            I have a couple of Portuguese olive dishes that have a section for you to put the pits in. I love them but only use them with intimates.

                                          4. re: Gigi007
                                            schrutefarms Sep 23, 2009 12:12 PM

                                            Yes! Those are the ones!

                                            1. re: schrutefarms
                                              Gigi007 Sep 23, 2009 12:14 PM

                                              Sweet. When you said, they looked like little prunes, I was pretty sure that you were talking about Moroccan oil-cured olives. Delicious little wrinkly things...

                                    2. ms. clicquot Sep 23, 2009 05:50 AM

                                      I was never a big olive fan until I went to the South of France and tried the olives in Les Baux. They were smaller and not too salty. I enjoyed those olives every day we were there and brought home a jar of them but somehow they didn't taste the same. Maybe the stunning scenery and a cold glass of rose made them taste better!


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ms. clicquot
                                        Soop Sep 23, 2009 07:36 AM

                                        I have to say actually, that wine probably would.
                                        How about a test? If you can find a deli with non-pitted olives (it's a little more work, but generally pitted olives are not as flavoursome) and a nice fresh, cold white? Something soft like a Sauvignon Blanc?

                                      2. Lindseyup67 Sep 23, 2009 03:05 AM

                                        Anchovie stuffed olives...YUM!!

                                        1. im_nomad Sep 22, 2009 04:28 PM

                                          I haven't met too many olives that i didn't love. I usually keep containers of pitted kalamatas and regular green salad olives in the fridge for every day. I like the little nicoise olives as well. If the spiced olives count, I enjoyed a spicy tunisian one I found at a local market a while back.

                                          For eating as is, I discovered Olive and Olives lemon-stuffed olives this past year and I am in love with them. I can also eat the almond stuffed olives like they are going out of style.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: im_nomad
                                            Gigi007 Sep 22, 2009 04:36 PM

                                            im_nomad, where do get your Olive and Olives lemon-stuffed olives? I love the combination of green olives and lemon (I'm assuming the olives you're talking about are green). Thanks.

                                            P.S. I'm happy to see that I'm in good company. So many olives, so little time...

                                            1. re: Gigi007
                                              im_nomad Sep 22, 2009 07:35 PM

                                              I got mine right in the store, but I think they do mail order:

                                              There are other brands of lemon stuffed olives out there too. Oro Verde is also good (I think that's the name)

                                              1. re: im_nomad
                                                Gigi007 Sep 22, 2009 07:40 PM

                                                Thanks very much, im_nomad. I think I'm going to turn into an olive. I eat so many of them!

                                          2. p
                                            pitterpatter Sep 22, 2009 03:38 PM

                                            Alphonsos, for a big, meaty one. Kalamatas, the biggest ones that I can afford, for every day. I guess I'm not much of a green olive person, but I do like Manzanillas and Arbequinas. But here's a real scoop -- I love the Organic Dried Black Olives from Olivico, and get this, they are cured WITHOUT SALT. Like Tuscan bread, it takes some getting used to, but after just a couple, I came to appreciate that olives are fruit, and have their own ageless perfection with nothing added.

                                            1. m
                                              michelley Sep 22, 2009 01:28 PM

                                              I like black cerignola and alphonso for eating and nicoise for salads. Calmata for greek salads.

                                              1. c
                                                CDouglas Sep 22, 2009 12:55 PM

                                                I really like Spanish olives the best. I received a jar of arbequina, empeltre and manzanilla olives from La Tienda at Christmas last year and they didn't last 'til New Year's. If I had to pick one it would be the tiny, nutty flavored arbequinas.

                                                1. h
                                                  Harters Sep 22, 2009 09:05 AM

                                                  Of the easily obtainable ones, I like kalamata - but my all-time favourite ones are the very bitter cracked ones you get in markets in Mallorca

                                                  1. s
                                                    sedimental Sep 21, 2009 05:37 PM


                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: sedimental
                                                      buttertart Sep 23, 2009 09:48 AM

                                                      Especially the ones stuffed with pickled lemon.

                                                    2. j
                                                      jaykayen Sep 20, 2009 11:23 PM


                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: jaykayen
                                                        jeanmarieok Sep 21, 2009 09:26 AM

                                                        me, too - picholine are just amazing!! I like kalamatas, too...

                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                          BobB Sep 22, 2009 12:25 PM

                                                          Ditto here - picholine for green, kalamata for black.

                                                          1. re: BobB
                                                            jeanmarieok Sep 23, 2009 05:01 AM

                                                            I can't get just picholines at the olive bar, so I am one of those people who pick thru the mixed olives to the get the ones I want.

                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                              BobB Sep 28, 2009 06:41 AM

                                                              Whole Foods usually has excellent picholines.

                                                              1. re: BobB
                                                                mcap Sep 28, 2009 12:46 PM

                                                                Picholine, hands down. I love all olives, but I can eat the small, little green picholine by the bucketful...

                                                      2. viperlush Sep 20, 2009 05:55 PM

                                                        Don't know the type of olive, but I love the green ones stuffed with pickled garlic. And those stuffed with anchovies. Really I haven't met an olive that I haven't liked. I'll eat jars of them if I am not careful. My favorite dish to cook them in is a Moroccan chicken w/lemon w/olive dish that I found on epicurious.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: viperlush
                                                          Soop Sep 22, 2009 09:10 AM

                                                          Oh! Bandarillos are great! Anchovies wrapped around olives... wow I miss them

                                                          1. re: viperlush
                                                            Perilagu Khan Jul 17, 2010 08:10 AM

                                                            At my grocery store they have habanero-stuffed jumbo greens. Killer olives! Figuratively and literally.

                                                          2. bookwormchef Sep 19, 2009 04:08 PM

                                                            I have never liked olives, but while reading on a Chow board a few months ago, I saw where someones said they loved Castelvetrano olives. I bought some online and love them. The are the nega-olive as far as briny taste. They are smooth and buttery. I ate them straight from the jar and have used them in salads.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: bookwormchef
                                                              Sean Sep 20, 2009 05:14 PM

                                                              I have hated olives my whole life until about ten years ago when I had my first marinated Kalamata olive, now I love them...

                                                              1. re: Sean
                                                                Veggo Sep 20, 2009 05:34 PM

                                                                Another vote for kalamata's. I served them tonight in individual antipastas with hearts of palm, goat cheese, asparagus tips, and lupini beans, on roasted sweet red peppers, with a drizzle of balsamic and OO. Empty plates tell the story.
                                                                Caution: I included chopped kalamatas one time in chicken salad, and they overwhelmed all other flavors. Delicious as they are, use them sparingly when they are a bit player in dishes.

                                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                                  Soop Sep 22, 2009 09:09 AM

                                                                  Another for kalmata :) Although sometimes, just regular green olives that aren't too strong can add a nice tangy counterpart to bread and cheese

                                                                  1. re: Soop
                                                                    NellyNel Sep 22, 2009 12:47 PM

                                                                    Me too on Kalamata's! (oil cured)
                                                                    I used to hate them as a kid - even though I loved other kinds of olives, but quite recently I have re-discovered them...I love the oily-ness of them..and the strong salty taste....which goes well with table water crackers.

                                                                    They are also very good when baked/broiled.
                                                                    I like to scatter them atop chicken cutlets or fish along with halved grape tomatoes - and just grill or bake....they become crunchy and nuttier - and great paired with the sweetness of the carmelized grape tomatoes.

                                                              2. re: bookwormchef
                                                                Karl S Sep 22, 2009 09:34 AM

                                                                Sounds like it's in the same family as picholine (which are a bit nutty), which is my favorite olive.

                                                                1. re: bookwormchef
                                                                  lynnlato Sep 23, 2009 04:46 AM

                                                                  I'm not a big olive fan myself (but I do like black olive tapenade) so I'll have to give the castelvetrano olives a try. Are they readily available at most grocers or do I need to look at a specialty grocer?

                                                                  1. re: lynnlato
                                                                    currentlycraving Jul 16, 2010 12:29 AM

                                                                    castelvetrano's are absolutely to die for.

                                                                    that being said of course like most underappreciated and relatively unknown food items, they are also quite difficult to find. gourmet markets or certain italian deli's may carry them.

                                                                    i've heard that they can be found at dean & deluca's

                                                                    1. re: currentlycraving
                                                                      gmm Jul 18, 2010 12:19 AM

                                                                      I have to agree on the Castelvetranos. Unfortunately, the few times I've come across them in markets, they've been pretty sad, I think they just don't sell enough to keep the stock rotated. But when they're good, they are wonderful.

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