I never could have imagined being an “olive person” before I came to Provence. Olives were generally something you found, at best, in your martini glass, and, at worst, diced up & displayed artfully next to the shredded lettuce at make-you-own-taco Tuesday.
Here in Provence, you can’t pass a market without bumping into bowlfuls of the most plump & magnificent olives on the planet. And since winter in the South finds us investing our time in all kinds of creative & culinary pursuits, I’ve recently been on a quest to try as many different varieties of these little gems as possible.
Olives with a sprinkling of herbes de provence.
I have to give a very favorable nod to the regional specialty, olives mixed with herbes de provence, but let’s not overlook a very spicey pimento, parsley, & curry version, and I also found a surprising mix that quickly became a hands-down favorite: garlic, cumin, sweet pepper, & laurel. Now that’s one flavorful olive.
Tapenede from the Ollioules olive festival.
And we’d certainly be remiss if we didn’t mention a few treasures I picked up at the supermarket in the form of almond & red-pepper stuffed olives. That’s one olive just dying to get plunged into a designer Martini – or just maybe one of my spiffy aperitivo bowls.
Olive breads from Ollioules village.
Are there other olive fans, or budding pimento lovers out there? Got a favorite to share?