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Manzanilla Olives

POSTED August 30, 2018

This abundant green olive originates in Sevilla, Spain. Manzanilla olives are straw-colored, plump, and meaty, and are most commonly stuffed and skewered in happy hour cocktails.

Growing Region and Harvesting

Manzanilla olives grow throughout Southern Spain, where the climate is typical of most warm Mediterranean regions. This area has diverse weather patterns depending on proximity to the sea or the higher altitude in mountainous areas. Manzanilla olive trees are hardy and bear fruit annually, producing some of the world’s finest table olives.

Manzanilla olives are hand-harvested while green in early to mid-Fall. The word “manzanilla” means “little apple” in Spanish, which describes the appearance of these medium-sized, plump fruits.

Curing

Manzanilla olives are processed with a Spanish-style cure. First, the olives are washed in a short bath of fresh water and caustic soda to de-bitter the fruits. After a thorough rinse, the olives are fermented for three to four months in a natural sea salt brine.

Manzanilla olives have a small pit that can be removed easily, allowing the meaty flesh to be stuffed with other fillings. Often, these olives are stuffed with pimento peppers or garlic.

Pairings

Pair Spanish Manzanilla olives with aged Swiss, spicy pepper-jack cheese, or beloved Spanish Manchego for an incredible appetizer. These olives offer a burst of flavor with mild saltiness, making them an excellent complement to spicy sausage. Finish with a robust glass of cava wine.

Quick Facts

  • Straw green in color
  • Most often stuffed with pimento paste to create the popular stuffed Spanish Manzanilla olive.
  • A staple of Spanish tapas paired with anchovies, sheep’s milk cheese, and Rioja wine.

Did You Know…?

The Spanish Manzanilla is the most common of all the olives due to the high fruit yield from its tree.