This post is sponsored by Olives From Spain
Every year, Spain’s top wineries get together to celebrate their latest and greatest offerings with both wine novices, connoisseurs, and industry professionals. Hosted by the Trade Commission of Spain, Spain’s Great Match was packed this year. Thanks to Olives From Spain, I was able to attend and not only get a peek at popular vinters, but also dine on the country’s other favorite – olives!
I’m actually a hardcore olive eater – if you’ve been following me on twitter or Instagram you might know this already. Not only do they rate as one of my favorite snacks, but they are a strict requirement for my cheese plates. I mean, really, a cheese plate is not a cheese plate unless there’s a decent Manzanilla olive somewhere on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually know too much about olives, aside from my preference for the Spanish Olives mix at the grocery store. Luckily, the Olives From Spain team was on hand to school me on some interesting facts:
Did you know that most olives are used solely for oil extraction? I had no idea! And while the time it takes for every olive to go through the process required to get them ready for eating may vary, only a select few are deemed suitable for consumption. I love that – it makes my snacking olives feel that much more special. Speaking of special, the olives served at Spain’s Great Match by Olives From Spain were something extra – just look at these Olives with Marcona Almonds (another Spanish specialty), diced piquillos, and Carables cheese. So, so good.
But my favorite was the Queen Olives stuffed with goat cheese, and served with a slice of apple, honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Queen Olives are named for their size, which the Olives From Spain folks informed me correlates to their price. The larger the olive, the more expensive it is. I’m familiar with stuffed olives – I’ve had them with piquillos, lemon, and almonds, but up until this event, I’ve never had them with goat cheese. I expected the cheese to come across as sharp and bitter, but the combination of the olive with the cheese, apple, and honey struck such an ideal balance that I had to restrain myself from snapping them all up and eating them myself.
Spain’s olives not only deliver great flavor and make a great low calorie snacking food, they also pack in a surprising amount of iron and fiber! There are currently more than 300 million olive trees in Spain, so there’s plenty to go around (or at least enough for my snacking habits). Which is a good thing, seeing as how Spain produces about half of the 145,000 tons of olives we import every year. Suffice it to say, the US is a massive fan of Spanish olives.
How do you enjoy your olives? Do you serve them as a table snack? Or do you use them in marinades, salads, or stews? Olives from Spain are so versatile, but if you’re looking for a creative way to serve some look no further than http://olivesfromspain.us/ for more recipes and to learn more about your favorite Spanish olives!