Specialty olives as a gift
My girlfriend is olive-mad and I was wondering where I could find particularly good/rare/otherwise special olives for her for Christmas. We're in Somerville, but I'll travel to anywhere T-accessible. Her tastes are pretty broad, but she much prefers olives with pits to stuffed olives. I'd also welcome suggestions of an olive-of-the-month club, an olive tasting class, or anything else like that. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Addendum: While I said 'as a gift', I don't need them to be in a jar or other packaging for presentation or long-term storage purposes (though it would be fine if they happened to come that way); odds are it would only be a matter of seconds before they were opened and devoured anyway. As long as they're good-quality, I don't care what they come in.
Salumeria Italiana in the North End has a nice selection of olive in their fresh case and more in jars on the shelf.
Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge is another place where I buy new types to try.
The Middle Eastern Markets on Mt Auburn Street in Watertown offer another set of variations.
I like Arax but there are a few choices there.
Suppose you gave her a sample from each with a gift certificate for a trip to the source. Then you could plan a few outings over the winter based on her love of olives. That would score major points! I can see her now on the bus from Mt Auburn tucking into her stash of spicy olives from Arax!
I'm sure the hounds will have more favorite olive choices to add to these three.
right in Somerville, Capone's has a nice selection of olives in bins as well as in imported jars. Ask them for tastes. I too usually prefer olives with pits, but Al makes his own brine for his cracked green pitless olives and I love them.
Also in Somerville the Wine and Cheese Cask has a nice selection.
on blackstone st. (haymarket) both harry's cheese and the halal market downstairs have good selections, very reasonably priced.
The nice thing about Sevan bakery on Mt. Auburn Street in Watertown is that you can scoop your own olives so you could get her a custom-made sampler. Some of the other Middle Eastern shops on that stretch prepack their olives so it's more of a commitment quantity-wise. Sophia's Greek Pantry on Belmont St. is another good choice and is easily accessible on the 73 bus. Finally, I also like Formaggio's house marinated olives. At one point, Formaggio also sold chocolates that look like olives. They were in a jar on top of the counter in the middle room.
Thank you all, these are great suggestions! I'm getting quite excited to dig into them myself... might have to buy a few extras.