A Beginner's Guide to Table Olives -

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A Beginner’s Guide to Table Olives

September 13, 2017

Table olives have been part of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. Long before Martinis or tapenade were used as something cool at parties, this small and delicious fruit was already famous among a lot of ancient cultures such as Romans, Greeks or the Egyptians.

However, until recently, in countries outside the Mediterranean basin, it was difficult to find much of these. And we say this because in table olives’ world, there are many types, which today we can find in the nearest supermarket in our neighborhood quite easily.

The classification of the varieties of table olives depends on 3 variables:

  • Their presentation
  • Their place of origin
  • Type of olive

In the case of this guide, all the olives that we will talk about are of Spanish origin, so we will explain varieties according to their presentation and type, in order to make you an expert in the olive world and the boast at your next party with friends.

And, why do we focus on Spanish olives? Because Spain is a leader in production and export of table olives, being its product of great quality and tradition.

TYPES OF OLIVE

 

It is important to know that there are two types of olives: olives for oil and table olives. The oil ones are smaller, lozenge-shaped and less fleshy. On the other hand, the table ones contain more meat, a small pit, rounded form and its meat detaches of the bone easily.

Greens: They are olives harvested during the ripening cycle, and when they have reached a normal size.

Black: They are olives collected in full maturity or shortly before it, and after being treated for later consumption they acquire their characteristic black colour.

Of changing colour: They are olives collected before their full maturity and with different shades in their coloration, such as pinkish, purple or dark brown.

VARIETY OF TABLE OLIVES

 

Manzanilla

The olives of the variety Manzanilla are fruits of medium size, almost round and with relatively small pit. It is undoubtedly the most widely spread olive tree variety in the world and one of the best known.

Gordal

Known internationally with the name of “Sevillana”, it is an olive very appreciated for its size, since it can reach an average weight of 0,44oz. Hence its Spanish name, Gordal, “the fat one”. They are mainly grown in low Andalusia.

Hojiblanca

Its cultivation covers great part of the provinces of Cordova, Malaga, Seville and Granada. The fruit has a coloration from violet to black, and it’s a very appreciated variety in elaborations of black olives seasoned and in brine, is considered very suitable for black dressing type “Californian”.

In addition, we can find them with different presentations:

 

Olives with pits: They are the ones that retain their original shape and the pit has not been removed.

Unpitted: These are the olives which pit has been removed and retain their original shape.

Stuffed: Unpitted olives that are filled with one or more ingredients such as pepper, onion, tuna, anchovy, salmon, almond, etc.

Salads: Olives cut into segments or sliced ​​and unpitted. They may be accompanied by capers and other stuff.

Slices: Unpitted or stuffed olives cut into rings of a similar thickness.

Caper: Whole or unpitted with or without stuffing, usually small in size and accompanied by capers.

Rolls: Olives that are not placed in order.

Placed: Olives that fit in the containers, following a symmetrical order or adopting geometric forms.

If you have any doubts or want to know more about this delicious snack, write to us on Facebook or Instagram, and we will solve all your doubts!

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The first ever Spanish Olive Festival is coming to the UK!

September 19, 2017

This September sees the exciting arrival of the first ever Spanish Olive Festival in the UK and it’s free to attend!

Come to visit the Canopy Market at Kings Cross and you will be transported to the olive groves of Spain with celebrity chef demonstrations, a famous nutritionist, olive tastings, an interactive marinating & filling station, an olive art installation and of course, Spanish music to flamenco the day away!

On the Friday 29th, critically acclaimed chef José Pizarro who believes that “Spanish olives are the best in the world”, and Spanish TV sensation Omar Allibhoy kick off the line-up. Both chefs will be showcasing their favourite dishes using delicious Spanish olives – Omar a juicy braised chicken in Spanish olive sauce and José, a melt-in-the-mouth grilled lamb rack with an olive marinade. Omar, Founder of the Tapas Revolution will also be doing book signings after his demonstrations. Don’t miss it!

Then on the Saturday from midday, nutritionist Fiona Hunter will be getting you in the mood for lunch, with her healthy yet delicious Spanish eggs with olives, olive & sesame cocktail biscuits and don’t miss out on trying her tapenade! Saltyard’s Ben Tish brings his own Spanish expertise with a black face lamb neck and green olive puree and Omar Allibhoy returns with cooking demonstrations and book signings to create a not-to-be-missed line-up for the Saturday.

Finally on Sunday 1st October, you will see Ben Tish and Fiona Hunter take to the stage with tasty dishes, that are sure to help cure a hangover and will give you inspiration for healthy Sunday night Spanish feasts at home.

In addition to all this, you can get your fill at The Olive Station trying your hand at stuffing and marinating gorgeous Spanish olives with fried & salted almonds, piquillo peppers, cheese and chorizo, to take home for free! And if the thought of a pickled almond, caper or pimento pairing sounds daunting, there’ll be experts on hand to help you make the right choice.

The Olive Tasting Station is where you’ll be able to try a range of Spanish olives, from the Manzanillas, to Gordals, and Hojiblancas. Experts on hand will be able to answer questions and recommend dishes and pairings, so you can try using them at home.

An olive art installation will take centre stage, built entirely out of olives; this green & black landscape masterpiece will be a sight to behold and will be where you can take selfie’s until your hearts content.

You’ll be able to get your favourite recipes in the form of cards from our celebrity chefs and nutritionist, there’ll be traditional Spanish music and the Canopy Market itself is always worth a visit.

Save the date for this exciting new free festival!

spanish olive festival

Festival Dates: Friday 29th Sept, Saturday 30th Sept & Sunday 1st Oct

Times: Friday (12-7pm), Saturday (12-7pm), Sunday (11-6pm)

Venue: Canopy Market, West Handyside Canopy, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4BH

 

 

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Spanish life: five things to do if you want to live like a local

September 26, 2017

Stereotypes are the worst enemy for travellers who really want to discover the culture and people from a country. This happens with paella, bullfights and flamenco in Spain, they turned into internationally recognized symbols, that not always match the reality. So if you want to fully immerse yourself in Spanish customs, develop a clear understanding and share their Mediterranean lifestyle, here you have these five things to do if you want to live like a local in Spain for your next trip.

 

1-Eat Dinner After 9:30. Hungry at 7 pm? If you’re in Spain, you might just be out of luck, because Spanish dinner time doesn’t start until after 9 pm. The good thing? You won’t go to sleep hungry. But the best thing is that you can…

2-Have a pre-dinner snack or merienda. As there are plenty of hours between lunch and dinner, the Spaniards have what they call “merienda“, which is usually taken between 5 and 7pm to satisfy their hunger a bit. The good thing about this snack, is that it can be some refreshing drink with some delicious snack like spanish table olives. What would you want more?

3-Do not limit yourself to the beach. Although Spain is famous mainly for its incredible coasts and their big cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Seville, there are endless picturesque villages less visited by foreigners, that will give you a new perspective of the cultural variety of this country, offering you the opportunity to enjoy the real Mediterranean lifestyle.

4-Eat tapas while standing. Do not expect to find a table and a place to sit in taverns and tapas bars of Spain, because frequently, if you go at tapas peak time when there’s more people, it is normal to have your drink and your tapa or pintxo directly standing or leaning on the bar at best. Tapas are usually small portions of food, like olives, so eating them standing is simple. Relax, it’s the Spanish way!

5-Enjoy the moment. Do not plan too much your trip, leave free time to improvise and lose yourself in the town or the city where you are, to enjoy a pleasant talk with some local neighbour, share some beers and olives or simply marvel at an incredible sunset.

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The best guide on following the Mediterranean diet

October 3, 2017

The Mediterranean diet is probably the healthiest diet in the world. It’s effectiveness in reducing heart ailments, helping in weight loss and promoting the general well-being of those who adhere to it has been proven over the years. The reason the Mediterranean diet succeeds where other diet plans are not so efficient is that it is not only a diet plan but a lifestyle. It emphasizes on eating healthy foods, taking the right portions, moderate consumption of red wine, exercising regularly and sharing meals with friends and family. The diet takes a holistic approach to promoting good health, and it is suitable for people of all ages.

5 Ways to Follow The Mediterranean Diet

  • Eat Less Saturated Fats

You can do this by substituting red meat for white meat and plant protein such as nuts and beans. Take fish at least twice a week. Fatty fish is particularly good for a healthier heart and brain due to their richness in omega-3 fats. Avoid processed fats, butter and margarine and use monounsaturated plant-based oils.

  • Take More Vegetables and Fruits

It is advisable to eat between three and eight servings of vegetables daily. Vegetables are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. They can easily be integrated into meals as ingredients or eaten as salads. You can also nibble on raw vegetables like carrots and tomatoes anytime. Ensure that you eat fruits daily.

  • Eat Whole Grain Foods

Whole grain foods are healthier than processed foods. They are also rich in fiber, and they make you fuller. Whole grain pasta, bread, rice, oatmeal, corn, rye, and quinoa are some of the healthy cereals that you can eat.

  • Snack On Healthy and Nutritious Foods

Bad snacking habits are among the leading causes of obesity and other lifestyle diseases. You should substitute processed snacks, biscuits, chips, etc. for healthy snacks like fruits, seeds, nuts and of course, delicious olives from Spain. They will fill your stomach and make you healthier at the same time.

  • Drink Wine with Moderation

Moderate drinking is proven to reduce the risk of heart diseases. While following the Mediterranean diet, it is advisable to take a glass or two of red wine together with a meal or your snack. The wine contains antioxidants beneficial to your arteries and blood thinning qualities make you less prone to blood clots.

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What are tapas and where did they come from?

October 10, 2017

The word “Tapa” is a Spanish word that means “lid” or “cover” – but which has come to mean, in Spain, a bar snack or appetizer served with a drink. Hunting down tapas is a common activity for visitors and tourists, but it can cause confusion.

Traditionally, tapas – which started out as edible “lids” for drinks – are served free in some places as Granada or Madrid with a drink, and it’s very popular around Spain. So much so, that there is the verb “Tapear” used to identify the action of going out with friends and “ir de tapas.”

Tapas have, however, spread beyond Spain – but they have morphed in the process. A “tapas bar” in Britain or America is a place which serves multiple small plates intended to be shared by the entire table, with the recipes influenced by Spanish and Mediterranean ideas, but often altered to fit local tastes. In Spain, this would actually be called a “aperitivo”.” In Spain, you’re more likely to fill up on tapas while going from bar to bar.

A “tapa” is anything served in a small portion – it’s not a type of food. However, some things are particularly popular as tapas – these include olives, either on their own or with other foods such as tuna or onions, chorizo, potatoes in a source or deviled eggs. Other recommendations for tapas to try while in Spain include croquetas (often filled with ham or cod), small toasted sandwiches, small shrimps or prawns and, of course, those olives – sometimes seen as the oldest and original tapas.

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5 Salad Dressing Recipes Using Spanish Olives

October 16, 2017

Green olives have been a staple in the Spanish cuisine for many years. Green olives are most commonly found in the grocery store stuffed with cut up pimiento peppers. Back in the day, Spanish chefs used to cut up the pimiento peppers by hand and stuff them inside the green olives (again, by hand.) The sweet pimiento peppers were originally put inside olives to balance out the natural, strong salty flavour of the green olive. Now green olives appear in a number of dishes and they make a good base for tapenades and salad dressings.

Green Olive with A Kick Salad Dressing

Ingredients

20 medium green olives

1 clove of garlic

2 Tablespoons EVOO

2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar

A dash of fine sea salt

A dash of black pepper

A dash of cayenne pepper

2 medium piquillo peppers

Directions

Remove the pits from the olives and the seed from the peppers. Finely mince the olives, garlic and peppers. Add all of the other ingredients and blend with a food processor until the texture is consistent.

Spicy Anchovy and Caper Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1 can of anchovies

2 Tablespoons of capers

20 medium green olives

2 cloves of garlic

1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of Harissa

1 Tablespoon of Parsley

1/2 Cup EVOO

Directions

Remove the pits from the olives, rinse and drain the capers and anchovies. Finely mince olives, garlic, capers, and anchovies. Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor until you reach the desired consistency.

Olive and Manchego Cheese Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1/3 cup roasted pimento peppers

1/4 cup pimento stuffed green olives (drained)

16 Ounces Manchego Cheese

2 Medium piquillo peppers

2 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise 

2 Teaspoons of hot sauce

1/4 cup EVOO

Directions

Finely mince both types of peppers, olives, and cheese. Mix all ingredients in a food processor until you reach the desired consistency.

Olive and Herb Salad Dressing

Ingredients

20 medium pitted green olives

1 medium chopped onion 

3 Tablespoons rinsed capers

1 Teaspoon Paprika

A Dash of Cayenne Pepper 

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano 

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

3 Tablespoons EVOO

1/4 cup Red Spanish wine of your choice

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

1 clove of chopped garlic

1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

Directions

Finely mince olives, onion, garlic, capers and all of the fresh herbs. Mix all ingredients in a food processor until texture is right.

Sweet and Spicy Olive Salad Dressing

Ingredients

1 Cup Pimento stuffed green olives

1 clove of garlic

1/4 Cup EVOO

1/4 Cup Red Wine

1 clove of garlic

1/4 Cup EVOO

1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

A dash of fine sea salt

A dash of black pepper

A dash of cayenne pepper

1 Teaspoon of paprika

1 tablespoon of chopped saffron 

2 medium piquillo peppers

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 medium pitted peach

Directions

Remove the pits from the olives and the seeds from the peppers. Finely mince the olives, garlic, peach and peppers. Add all of the other ingredients and blend in a food processor until the texture is consistent.

Olives have many uses when preparing Spanish foods. Switching up these recipes with different types of olives is also possible.