I absolutely love olives - black, pimento or cheese stuffed, in a martini, or crushed into a tapanade - they are simply delicious. While I knew that they were a Mediterranean treat, I didn't realize the percentage that come from Spain till I had the chance to chat with Paula Sanchez, responsible for promotion and marketing at Olives from Spain!
Why olives and what makes Spanish olives special?
The olives are versatile, they go both with salty and sweet dishes. They are easy to store, you can find them in any supermarket and also have an affordable price! You can cook with them or you can just open a can and enjoy them. They are also a light and healthy snack. And why Spanish olives are special? We have been growing table olives for over 2,000 years and we are the world's leading producer and exporter, we are experts in olives!
What is your favorite type of olive (green / stuffed / sliced black etc.)?
I like them all, but if I had to choose a variety, I would keep the queen olive (gordal in Spanish), with an excellent size to fill it with whatever your imagination may think, goat cheese and mango, peppers, almonds, caviar and Iberian ham....
People are familiar with wine tours, but are there olive tours in Spain?
Not as such, since in the olive there are many producers with small farms, so an organized tour would be more complex. Anyways, in the Canena and Úbeda area (Jaén, Andalusia) there are activities around the olive tree.
What are some of your favorite recipes that feature olives? The white chocolate lollipop, the fried olives or the Superbowl hot dogs with olives just to say a few. All these recipes and many more can be found on our website www.haveanoliveday.eu
If you were helping a buddy plan a lads holiday in Spain, where would you guys go?
Spain is a small country and very well communicated, so in one week or 10 days you can see a lot. My indispensable ones would be Barcelona, Madrid and Seville! They are very well connected between them and they allow you to see how diverse Spain is in architecture, gastronomy, lifestyle...
When you think about various "regional" specialties around the world that feature olives - for instance a mufflata from New Orleans, what's your favorite?
In Spain we have a dish called Russian salad (a kind of potato salad) that is delicious and always carries olives. There are also a very famous tapa, called Gildas, a skewer with olives, anchovies and pepper. There is a French dish called Tapenade, which is an olive-based pasta, ideal for spreading on bread or fish. In Morocco they traditionally make chicken Tajine with olives, delicious! And then there are dishes that always taste a lot better with olives, like pizza or salads.