All About Olives

Curious about those crocks of olives popping up in markets and specialty shops? Here's help. Dig in.

Alphonso Huge, deep-purple olive from Chile. Brine-cured, then cured in red wine. It has a soft, meaty flesh and sour taste with a slight bitterness.

Nicoise A small, dark, brownish-purple olive from Southern France. Brine-cured. Its soft flesh is juicy, not oily, and fruity -- almost sweet.

La Catalan A brine-cured olive from Spain marinated with curry, celery, and pepper. It has crisp, dense flesh and an assertive curry flavor.

Sicilian Green A large, brownish-green olive. Brine-cured. Its meaty flesh has an assertive, sour taste.

Moroccan Dry- or Salt-Cured A medium-size, glistening, jet-black olive from North Africa. It has moist, meaty flesh with a salty, smoky flavor.

Gaeta Small, greenish-brown, wrinkled olive from Italy. Salt- or brine-cured. It has soft tender flesh that is very salty and slightly sour.

Queen or Sevillano Large, mild, medium-green olive. Mainstay of Spain and California. Brine-cured. Often stuffed with pimiento.

Italian Dry- or Salt-Cured Jet-black, wrinkled olive. Moist, tender flesh has a woodsy, almost smoky flavor with a hint of cinnamon.

Cerignola Enormous, blue-green or jet-black olive from Southern Italy. Brine-cured. Its firm flesh has a mild, sweet flavor. Difficult to pit.

Kalamata Greenish-black-purple, medium-size olive from Greece. Brine-cured. Has a pungent, intense, lingering flavor.


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