I enjoy olives. People know that and try to be helpful…so I’ve eaten a lot of green, stuffed olives, and boring/bland black olives. While this fruit can be prepared in any number of ways, my go-to in recent years has been Mezzetta‘s version of calamata (kalamata) olives.
While calamata olives are arguably some of the finest olives around, they are not all created equal. These olives can be cured with vinegar, brine, or sometimes olive oil. I’ve found that Mezzetta’s combination of vinegars and salt balance to provide a bold flavor that is at home in salads, sandwiches, or just as a snack.
I’ve had many other versions of these olives. I had one batch from a Greek deli that, I swear, tasted saltier than a handful of salt. The ones pack in olive oil… they seem duller in comparison to their cousins packed in a vinegar solution. No matter how many I’ve tried, I always come back to that 269 g (9.5oz dry weight) bottle of pitted calamata olives.
Yes, that’s right—pitted. Sure, you can get the pit-in style as well from the M, but I find that the opened olive absorbs just a little more of the flavor of the packing solution. For some varieties of olive, this would be a bad thing, but calamatas can take it. I do have to warn you: even with the pitted olives, there will be a pit (or fragment) in an olive in every few jars. Nature of the beast. I’ve learned to avoid nasty surprises by squeezing the olives first before final serving…just to make sure.
Sometimes it’s tough to find things to splurge on when the economy tightens up. At about $5 a bottle, these delights are an inexpensive decadance. Plus, they are good for you, provided you don’t go overboard. Each olive is about 10 calories, and is loaded with the usual “good” mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. As with just about all olives, you are going to get a hit with the sodium, but for most people this isn’t a problem.
I highly recommend this product. It’s inexpensive, is delicious, and can be found in a typical chain grocery store (none of that going to specialty shops or hard-to-find delis). Once you taste them for the first time, you’ll wonder why you’ve been dallying with lesser olives for so long.
(Sorry, no affiliate links this time. You’ll have to go to the Mezzetta site link above, or visit your grocery.)