Olives have been eaten and the oil used since biblical times but it wasn’t until recently they have enjoyed so much press due to their cardioprotective properties. About 1/3 of this olive is monounsaturated fatty acid, commonly refereed to as”the good fat” that is thought to reduce cholesterol levels and help forbid the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Olives are grown mostly in the Mediterranean countries where they are a huge part of the diet. Studies have shown that people in the Mediterranean regions who eat a lot of olives tend to have less heart disease in addition to less incidence of certain kinds of cancer.
The olives that we’re used to seeing in the stores and eating are not fresh olives from the trees. In their raw state, olives are quite bitter and they must be”cured” in order to be palatable. Different methods of treating produce different flavors in the olives and today, there are dozens of gourmet olives widely available.
Olives may be used to add zest to any dish – but you must pick the right olive to compliment the main food. Some olives can be sour, some candy and many others earthy and rustic. Following is a guide to the various types of olives and the foods they go best with.
Sweet Flavored Olives
Earthy Flavored Olives
Nicoises is a earthy rich olive widely used in salad. The curing of this olive in red-wine vinegar gives it a distinctive taste. The heavy flavor of this olive make it a great snack all by itself!
Spicy and Zesty Flavored Olives
Mount Athos green with Sicilian herbs is another olive that uses herbs to control the pallet. Rosemary, garlic, mustard seed, and red pepper flakes give this olive a spicy appeal. Kalamatas olives are black olives cured in red wine vinegar which results in a tangy taste. Alfonsos are similar in flavor to the Kalamata and are often located served in antipastos. Another olive that’s similar in flavor to the Alfonsos and Kalamatas is your Halkididis that makes a fantastic dip when mixed into cream cheese along with garlic. An olive that has a meaty buttery flavor is the Lucques, which is great as a snack with cheese and bruchetta.