People sometimes say they don’t like olives after trying one single olive years before. But one glass of wine that wasn’t to our taste wouldn’t put us off every other variety, and the same goes for olives. Trying a range of olive types, in a variety of ways, is the only way we know what olives we really love.
It’s said that olives were the first fruit trees to be cultivated by humans. We do know people have been enjoying olives for thousands of years. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising to know that thousands of different varieties of olives exist. Although they’re now in almost every corner of the world, the Mediterranean has long laid claim to be the origin of the olives that we know and love today.
Olive types aren’t as simple as black and green. In fact, even black olives start as green olives. So just how many olive varieties are there? Today, there are over 100 olive varieties regularly grown around the world. The majority of olives grown are used for olive oil production, but there are still many more types for us to enjoy. Each has its own specific qualities and flavour.
Spain is the world’s largest olive oil producer. Picual and Arbequina olives are commonly grown here (although they have also been exported around the world). These varieties are popular with olive oil producers as they have a high oil content. In Italy, Leccino, Frantoio and Coratina olives all offer high oil yields too.
Hojiblanca olives are the third most popularly grown olive and, as they have a lower oil content, are predominantly used as table olives. Hojiblanca translates literally from Spanish to ‘white leaf’, which relates to the colour on the leaves of their hardy trees. They have a generous size, a firm bite, and a delicious and distinctive flavour. Beautifully balanced, they’re known for being slightly sweet, with a pleasant bitterness and touch of almond flavour.
Only olives grown in the Kalamata region of Greece can be called Kalamata olives. Handpicked in Southern Greece, they’re left on the tree until they’ve turned dark purple or black. These are probably the world’s most recognised black olive, and are known for their rich and fruity taste.
Hailing from Seville, Manzanilla olives are a versatile, juicy olive with a firm texture. Although they’re now grown around the world, every Fragata Manzanilla olive is grown in Spain. They’re perfect for filling, and you’ll find we’ve filled ours with everything from Garlic to Chorizo, Lemon to Anchovy, and Jalapeno to Piquillo Pepper. You can see the full filled range here.
Olives are wonderfully versatile, and work well with many flavours. Filled and marinated olives offer many new ways to enjoy olives at their finest. So don’t be shy, give every olive a try. From the firm bite and zesty flavour of our ready to eat Manzanilla olives seasoned with Lemon, to the intense, love-it-or-hate-it, extreme saltiness of our Beldi olives, to the simple delights of large, plump green Hojiblanca olives. Treat your taste buds, and discover a world of olive flavours.