Olives are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and added to flavour almost everything, including martinis.
There are numerous varieties of Olives and you may read all you need to know about Olives and Olive Oil in the book titled, The Olive Tree, written by Spyros Peter Goudas in the Books and Articles Section of the www.mrgoudasbooks.com website.
Usually considered a table food, opened cans or jars of olives should be refrigerated or stored at room temperature if covered in brine.
The photo here displays the Kalamata Olive which is a large black olive with a smooth, meaty texture named after the city of Kalamata in Messenia, Southern Greece.
Olives are an excellent delight with which to accompany any meal, especially when served with a few slices of feta cheese and a demitasse of Greek Coffee.
Below are some pictures of differnt types of olives.
The following article has been extracted from the Mr. Goudas Book, The Olive Tree.
Let me tell you a little story.
I am going as far back as 1978, at which time I hired an accountant for our firm.
He happened to be Chinese.
During our lunch breaks, we all sat in the cafeteria and had lunch together.
Being Greek, I always had olives in my lunch bag, either one kind or another.
Each day, I would offer the accountant some olives.
For years and years, he always politely refused.
However, one day, five years later, he apparently made a life changing decision.
With trembling hands, he finally touched one olive.
It took quite a few minutes for him to lift his shaking hands from the plate to his mouth, and then, similar to a slow motion movie, or a scene from the Twilight Zone, it finally touched his mouth.
Envision me awaiting the results!
He placed the olive in his mouth, moved it from left to right, then, right to left and back again, until ……, he finally took his first bite.
All the while, I am waiting, almost not breathing, for an opinion.
Well, that was then.
Now, thirty years later, my jar of olives always seems to be empty.
Of course, this seems like a comedy.
However, it has taught me a very valuable lesson, it will take a long time to persuade a person of a different nationality who has never seen or tried an olive before to plunge headfirst and go for it.
Since I had so many other projects on the go regarding production and creation of different ethnic foods, I left the olive idea on the back burner until one day, I was invited to an association dinner to present the academic Goudas awards to the best student.
There were more than five hundred people in attendance at a sit down dinner, where olives were part of the menu.
Finally, when the time came to go up on stage, present the award and say a few words with cameras flashing and a film crew recording the event for the news, all I thought about at the time were the olives, and I promised the audience, there and then, that in the near future I would bring into this country the best olives available.
I had more applause about the olives than the award presentation.
When I returned to the office, I asked my salespeople to purchase olives of every race, creed, brand and size, stuffed, unstuffed, including dyed olives from Peru, and bring them to the office.
I knew I had a task ahead of me.
Obviously, the information and knowledge I acquired through speaking to olive producers from the Mediterranean countries are so detailed, that I could produce an encyclopaedia.
Teaching different nationalities about eating olives was not even in my frame of reference at that time.
My main focus was to bring the BEST OLIVE OF EACH VARIETY and absolutely satisfy the people who knew about olives.
Nevertheless, the task to find the right and responsible people was not easy.
Part of the difficulty in the process is the fact that olives have to be DE-BITTERIZED, and that process takes four to five months by using fresh water with salt, which has to be changed every week.
And, without using ammonia for quick de-bitterization, which will give the olives a funny taste after biting.
Additionally, each variety has to be separated and sorted by size.
There are many different sizes and sizes in between the sizes.
In general, the sizes are brilliant, superior, large, extra large,
jumbo, giant, and colossus.
Olives also have to be separated by colour: green and black, and several colours
Those used in restaurants are either the superior or the large, usually are the
There has been a tendency for olives to get softer as the time goes by.
Last year’s crop is softer than this year’s.
The test is to find the right packer
with the proper sterilization equipment with the same procedure as the responsible olive oil producer who does not mix good and bad for the purpose of meeting weight requirements just to capture a cheap price.
The olive selection through the belt rotation moving packaging line, will allow an expert eye to determine and remove the potential soft, discoloured olives.
However, my requirements are a few additional pairs of trained eyes to ensure that my olives really are the best available.
Those few extra eyes are the ones which select the olives that should not be in my container.
In a few words, they are paid for the weight of the rejected olives.
This ensures that filling Mr. Goudas olive barrel just for the weight is minimized.
With all my requirements and specifications in place, I have selected eight varieties which are the following: green sliced, cocktail, green jumbo, jumbo crack olives, jumbo kalamata, colossus, large black, and manzanilla.
These olives are available in the 1,500 ml see-through jar so that the consumer is able to view the contents.
Shipments of these varieties have already arrived in the Canadian market and the stores that are carrying them have the privilege of hearing the consumer’s satisfactory comments.
Within my writing, I have mentioned the word, Kalamata.
This refers to a particular variety of olives which grow only in the provinces of Messinia and Lakonia, in the southern part of Greece.
Sparta is a town within this area, and those of you who love history, you may recall the story of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans!
There is another variety of olives called Thruba. It is black in colour, has a rough skin and a soft mushy texture.
Another common name for this olive is the Moroccan.
They appear to be “ugly” looking, however, to people familiar with them, they are the utimate olive.
On hearing the above, one of my assocatiates contested this statement and added that “the ultimate olive is the one floating in a dry martini!”
This is a common method of serving the Martini in the Western world.
He then stated, how do they serve martinis in Thailand, Sri Lanka and other areas that have no knowledge of the olive?
To them it may seem like a foreign object floating in the glass.
I responded, that since I spent 40 years in this multicultural business, I have a solution to this dilema.
With my vast knowledge, I suggest placing a Rambutan stuffed with pineapple in the martini!
Now you will ask me, What is a Rambutan, just like the man from Sri Lanka would ask, What is an olive?
Oh, oh! You should have only paid $45 for this booklet and the incredible information within.
However, I am adding another $5 for the information I will now reveal to you.
Just like Mr. Pirina developed the pirina, I had a meeting approximately 20 years ago with one of my associates from Bangkok, Thailand, and somehow during our discussion he mentioned that he knew an area that had so much Rambutan, that they did not know what to do with it.
And in the same breath he mentioned that Thailand had one of the sweetest pineapple in the world.
Somehow, I thought out loud, why not place a piece of the sweetest pineapple in the world inside of the Rambutan.
And, five years later, after many experiments, sterilization, pasteurization, etc., we can now place a Rambutan with pineapple in a martini.
So two hundred years from now, I will still be looking down to see Mr. Rambutan and
Mr. Olive racing to the finishing line to determine who will jump into the martini.
I have incorporated photos to illustrate the product.
I would like to mention to you that the photo below was taken in 1955, when I was 13 years old.
I am under the umbrella, and directly underneath me, is my mother, from Smyrna, Asia Minor.
The first lady on the left is my aunt.
She lived to age 98. Sitting next to her is my grandmother, who lived to age 106.
Should you take a very close look at the lunch table, even with a magnifying glass, you will note the only items on the table are bread and olives.
So the question is, do I know anything about olives or not?
Spyros Peter Goudas