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Belly up to the olive bar

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 5, 2001

The opportune olive
Just when we needed a new, infinitely variable flavor booster, this ancient staple could become the next culinary fad.
Here are a some of the varieties of olives that you might find at an olive bar, according to the Web site

Agrinion: Huge, dull green, brine-cured Greek olive with sour taste and very soft flesh that is easily torn from pit.

California Sicilian-style: Brine-cured, very big, sometimes cracked, dull-green variety with crisp bite. Hard to pit.

French oil-cured: Small, sleek, wrinkled black, with strong, intense flavor. Easy to pit.

Gaeta: Salt-cured, small, Italian variety with strong flavor, salty, black, wrinkled. Often hard to pit.

Greek black: Brine-cured, large, dark brown to purple variety, with soft pulp and a gentle flavor. Easy to pit.

Greek green: Brine-cured, medium-size, plump, juicy, pale-green variety with an acrid flavor. Easy to pit.

Kalamata (or sometimes Calamata): Brine-cured, medium-size, oval-shaped, dark purple Greek variety with strong aftertaste. Often packed in vinegar. Popular in the United States. Easy to pit.

Manzanilla: Brine-cured, small to medium-size Spanish variety with crisp flesh and smoky flavor. Popular in United States. Easy to pit. Often sold pitted and stuffed with pimiento or almond.

Moroccan oil-cured: Oil-cured (also is sometimes salt-cured), medium-size, shiny, black variety with slightly bitter, smoky flavor. Easy to pit.

Nicoise: Salt-cured, small, dark brownish-purple French variety, with tart, sharp flavor with a hint of a buttery taste and a large pit that is often hard to remove.

Picholine: Brine-cured, long, pointy, French variety, pale green, sweet, slightly acidic-flavored and crunchy. Often used for cocktails. In the U.S. they are usually packed in citric acid. Hard to pit.

Sevillano (or Queen): Brine-cured, huge, green, bland variety grown in California and Spain. Marketed in U.S. as "Super-colossal." Hard to pit.

Sicilian green: Brine-cured, large, pale, greenish-brown variety with dense flesh, sour taste. Easy to pit.

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