Olive You

When I was a kid, I didn't like olives at all. Granted, there weren't any fancy olive bars back then (or if there were, they didn't have them in The Sticks).
Then, a few years ago, I was dating a guy who put olives in his chili. Because I like to challenge my own assumptions, I tried it (in this particular case they were green olives) and was surprised to find that I actually liked it! From that point on, I was much more open to olive tasting opportunities.
Then, a year ago, I went to a tapas restaurant with my brother and his wife. I loved the mild tasting olives they had in the olive plate. I remembered the name: "castelvetrano." However they proved very hard to find! One thing that hampered my search, I'll admit, is the fact that I avoid going into Whole Foods. I think it's fabulous and fun to go into, but that's the trouble. I end up spending MUCH more than I intend to every time I go there. Then, a few months ago, I saw that a neighborhood restaurant had a market area and an olive bar. Wonder of wonders, they had Castelvetrano olives! Last week, I used the excuse that I needed to take some offering to a dinner meeting and bought a tub of olives. Of course, I made sure a generous proportion of that was Castelvetrano olives. They are as good as I remember. They are buttery and salty and a bit sweet. It's funny that part of my brain still says "ewww olives, yucky!" but another (apparently louder) part that says "More Please!"

I found a couple of sites that talk about the Castelvetrano olive:
One, a blog post: it has some good pictures and descriptions
Two, an article about their new popularity: again, this has some great information.


belsum said...

Interesting. I am decidedly not an olive fan. It's one of the few items that is a taste issue for me rather than texture. Green are worse for me than black, triggering my gag reflex. I've tried both in lots of situations from pedestrian to gourmet to living in Syria and...I just don't think it's one I'll be able to get around. Haven't tried in a while though and maybe I'll have to keep my eyes open for this particular variety.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time I liked only black olives. About ten years ago I tried a standard green olive, but took out the pimento - I loved it!

Now I'm a huge olive fan.