Spanish olive varieties

Arbequina

Appearance: Small, colour range from yellow-green to light brown, even purple

Texture: Firm and fleshy

From: Originally from Lleida, Catalonia, they're now popular all over Spain

Cultivar: Arbequina

Uses: Mainly oil, but also a characterful table olive

Taste: Nutty, fruity, a little bitter

Pairs with: Soft cheese, dried fruits

Did you know?
As olive trees go, the Arbequina stays quite low to the ground, making it easy to harvest the drupes by hand.

Cuquillos

Appearance: Small and purple

Texture: Soft and fleshy

From: Costa Calida and Costa Almeria, Southern Spain

Cultivar: Lechín de Granada

Uses: Table, salad, cooking

Taste: Notes of hazelnut and almond

Pairs: Nicoise salads, greek salads, pizza and pasta

Did you know?
You'll find Cuqullios growing anywhere in between the Spanish towns of Murcia and Almeria.

Manzanilla

Appearance: Round, yellow, green.

Texture: Firm and fleshy, with a small pit.

From: Seville

Cultivar: Manzanilla

Uses: Table, oil

Taste: Notes of almonds, a hint of spiciness reminiscent of cloves

Pairs: Martinis

Did you know?

The classic Spanish table. Literally ‘Little Apple’ in Spanish, Manzanillas are one of the most abundant breeds of olives as they come from a high yield tree.

Gordal

Appearance: Large, heart shaped green olive

Texture: Firm and meaty

From: Seville, Andalucia

Cultivar: Gordal

Uses: Used exclusively for the table, as has a low oil content

Taste: Juicy with a mild refreshing almost citrus flavour

Pairs: Great stuffed with peppers or garlic…or served with Manchego cheese

Did you know? Gordal means ‘The Fat One’

Greek olive varieties

Kalamata

Appearance: Almond shaped,
Varying shades of purple, or purple-brown

Texture: Soft and fleshy

From: Peloponnese peninsula of Greece

Cultivar: Kalamata

Uses: Table / oil / cooking

Taste: Fruity with a pleasant acidity and a mild lingering bitterness.

Pairs: A renowned table olive, Kalamata also makes a tasty fruity tapenade and works wonderfully with summer salads, for example, feta and watermelon salad.

Did you know? The leaf of the Kalamata tree is twice the size of other olive trees

Volos

Appearance: Round, often wrinkled; colour varies from light to dark purple

Texture: Meaty

From: Volos, at the East of the Greek mainland

Cultivar: Konservoila

Uses: Table and oil

Taste: Notes of grape and red wine

Pairs: Great for cooking, and in salads

Did you know?

Volos is hugely popular in Greece, providing 4 out of 5 of every table olives eaten there.

French olive varieties

Petit Luques

Appearance: Long, elliptical; bright green flecked with yellow

Texture: Crisp

From: Languedoc, nr Carcassonne

Cultivar: Luques

Uses: Table

Taste: Creamy with gentle hint of vanilla, a little nutty, bordering on sweet

Pairs: While many say it would be a shame to cook with such a delicately-flavoured olive, others advocate throwing them in a pan for the last ten minutes alongside a roasting chicken.

Did you know?

Luques trees have quite the artistic temperament – they are the divas of the olive world, requiring non-stop irrigation with 40 litres’ water a day. Pollination happens in a two-day window or else not at all – if it rains heavily on those days, the tree will be barren.

Picholines

Appearance: Long, elliptical, light green

Texture: Plump

From:South of France

Cultivar: Picholine

Uses: Table

Taste: Creamy with gentle hint of vanilla, a little nutty, bordering on sweet

Pairs: Well known as a martini olive, Picholines also get on famously with sparkling white wines

Did you know?

Picholines are only partially self-sufficient for fertilisation. Often other cultivars get drafted in to help out, such as Luques or Manzanillo.

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Moroccan olive varieties

Beldi

Appearance: Round, light green, and cracked - or dry cured, black and wrinkly.

Texture: Firm and crispy to the bite.

From: The provinces of Fez and Marrakech

Cultivar: Picholine marocaine

Uses: Cooking or tapenade

Taste: Mild and subtle

Pairs: Punchier sauces with bolder flavour profiles

Did you know?

Also known as Picholine marocaine, this close relative of the Picholine Languedoc is used as rootstock for its French cousin, due to its ability to handle times of drought

Italian olive varieties

Nocellara de Belice

Appearance: Vivid green, round

Texture: Crispy, crunchy, al dente

From: The Belice Valley in Sicily

Cultivar: Nocellara

Uses: Table

Taste: Buttery, creamy, clean.

Pairs: Sparking wine

Did you know?

Nocellara only have a 10 to 25-day fermentation, known as the Castelvatrano method

Bella di Cerignola

Appearance: Oval, Lightish green and really large (can also be cured black)

Texture: Firm and meaty

From: The province of Foggia, Puglia, Southern Italy

Cultivar: Bella Di Cerignola

Uses: Table

Taste: Mild, buttery and crisp, Bella di Cerignola are sometimes thought of as a ‘Beginners Olive’

Pairs: Salami, prosciutto, cured meats, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Did you know?

An olive with many nicknames: it’s known various as ‘Spanola’(Spanish) Prugne (Prune) or Barilotto (keg, firkin or ‘podgy person’)

Gaeta

Appearance: Best enjoyed dark purple, but some seasons they’re much lighter

Texture: Meaty

From: Gaeta, Lazio

Cultivar: Gaeta

Uses: Fruity tapenade, cooking in classic Italian dishes, works amazingly in a vegetarian lasagne.

Bite into the first flavour you get is blackcurrant, almost winey deep grape flavour

Pairs: Gorgonzola, all blue cheeses, saucy meat dishes with pork or beef

Did you know?

Unusually for olive trees, Gaeta don’t mind the cold. They can handle chilly extremes right the way down to minus 15c. This means they have an uncommon harvest season, usually around March.

Taggiasca

Appearance: Oval, symmetrical, light purple to purple-brown

Texture: Soft and fleshy

From: Liguria

Cultivar: Taggiasca

Uses: Table and oil

Taste: Fruity

Pairs: Red wines high in tannin such as Bordeaux, Barolo and Cabernet Sauvignon

Did you know? Taggiasca makes a wonderfully fruity, creamy olive oil when it's harvested Jan-through to early March

Nostraline

Appearance: Small, round, purple-brown

Texture: Soft and fleshy

From: Puglia

Cultivar: Leccino

Uses: Olive oil mainly

Taste: Fruity

Pairs: Goats cheese , pasta dishes, cream, pesto, tomatoes

Did you know?

Nostraline means “our olives"

Peruvian olive varieties

Botija

Appearance: Large, bright purple olives

Texture: Juicy, soft and yielding

From: The Andes, at altitudes above 500 metres

Cultivar: Sevillano

Uses: Tapenade, table

Taste: Very fruity, plummy

Pairs: Avocado and red onion

Did you know?

Originally brought to Peru by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century.

As with all tasting notes, they can only ever serve as a guide. Everyone’s tastebuds are different, we all pick up different aromatics and sensations.