I’m afraid to admit that I’m now an obsessive when it comes to olives. After receiving a free sample of Mezzetta’s Italian Castelvetrano Olives at the Food Buzz First Annual Blogger Festival this past fall in San Francisco, I finished the bottle and set off to find a comparable olive experience at Whole Foods, local natural food stores, and even the olive bar at my neighborhood supermarket which has a consistently higher quality than the chains. I turned up empty handed. I discovered that I clearly took the pure buttery tang of the Castelvetrano Olives for granted! Now they were gone and I was left with overly salty or seasoned stale facsimiles.
That was until I ordered a case of them online and am now well stocked. Why did I go through so much bother to acquire jars of olives? For one, I’m trying to incorporate more of a Mediterranean diet into my meals. In addition to whole grain breads, cheeses, and wine, olive oil is a key ingredient. And I like to get that from eating olives straight up. But they need to be fresh, unmasked by garlic and overpowering vinegar. This is where Mezzetta’s Italian Castelvetrano olives come in. Grown in Castelvetrano within the province of Trapani in Sicily, Italy, these bright green olives are harvested young and then brine cured. The resulting flavor is a mild buttery texture that’s not overpowered in saltiness.
What I love best about these olives is their crunchy bite with a clean essence of olive oil poking through. Since they’re cured in brine and not vinegar like other more common olive varieties, they lack the bitterness and retain the natural minerals and sugars that normally end up getting pressed into gourmet olive oils. The down side is that this type of preservation cuts down on their shelf life. But on the upside, this just gives me an excuse to eat more of them!
Hot tip: Not only are these olives an addictive snack, their unadulterated nature makes them perfect in classic martinis.