Olives, glorious glorious olives. A key ingredient in most Mediterranean diets, the briny fruit is one I’m highly addicted to. Whole, pitted, bruised, halved, black, green, marinated, stuffed — I devour them daily (some experts recommend eating 7/day). So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I promptly accepted an invitation to attend the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo in Toronto to see Chef Indira Ramnarine whip up tapas recipes featuring Olives From Spain…
Wait, I know what you’re thinking: what sets Olives From Spain apart from other varieties? I was wondering the same thing so I posed the question to Chef Indira. In her opinion, Olives From Spain are generally less sweet due to the cooler conditions compared to other olive-growing regions. She also thinks they are incredibly versatile, accessible (did you know that half of the olives consumed in Canada are Olives From Spain?!), healthy (they contain fibre, all-essential amino acids, are a source of Vitamin E etc.) AND there’s a broad variety of table olives to choose from. Speaking of which, Chef Indira featured three varieties in her tapas at the GFWE:
- Manzanilla: This variety is known for its quality and easy pitting. It’s usually prepared in Spanish or Seville-style with a range of different marinades.
- Hojiblanca: Picked just before they reach their full ripening stage (unlike green olives that are picked at the optimal ripening stage), this variety can range from violet to black in coloration.
- Queen (aka Gordal): Appreciated for its size and fleshy pulp, this variety is slightly asymmetrical and regarded as “the beauty of Spain”
Fun fact: to be graded as table olives, Olives From Spain must have a specific fat content, be easy to pit, have a delicate yet firm flesh and fine skin. I was actually blown away by how versatile they really are — not only can they be used in appetizers and salads, but even in desserts. Chef Indira, Chef Grant van Gameren and their team created these beautiful and tasty tapas featuring Olives From Spain at the GFWE:
Pimento Stuffed Manzanilla Olive With Chorizo, Guinidlla Pepper And Manchego
Gordal Olives, Spanish Chicken Terrine, Piquillo Pepper, Baby Arugula Served On A Crostini
Black Hojiblanca, Romesco, Roasted Squash, Fried Rosemary Served On A Crostini
Don’t these inspire you to experiment in your own kitchen?! They definitely got my wheels turning. Tapas have held a special place in my heart ever since I travelled through Spain so I’m excited to recreate some of my fave recipes using authentic ingredients like Olives From Spain. Hope you do to! I suggest grabbing a few Spanish wines (Rioja is a personal fave) and throwing a tapas fiesta with friends. But if you’re feeling lazy, just fill a bowl with some Manzanilla, Hojiblanca and Queens; the tasty morsels of goodness will impress your guests!
A huge thanks to Olives From Spain for inviting me to the GFWE and for sponsoring this post. As always, reviews and opinions are my own.