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Spanish Queen Olives

POSTED August 30, 2018

This plump, green olive is known for its large size and pimento filling. Like the Spanish Manzanilla, the Queen is a common olive that hails from the region of Sevilla. A classic martini olive, this straw-green gem owns a semi-firm, meaty texture with a burst of briny flavor and notes of almond.

Growing Region and Harvesting

Round, plump Spanish Queen olives are also known as “Gordal” or “the fat one” in Spain. Because this variety is mostly cultivated in Andalusia, near Seville, it can also be called the “Gordal Sevillana.” The Andalusian climate is typical of most Mediterranean countries, with hot summers and mild, wet winters. This makes it an ideal location for growing olives, which is one of the most important tree crops in the region.

Spanish Queen olives are harvested by hand to avoid bruising or scarring this popular table olive. The harvest usually takes place when the fruits are green, starting in October and lasting through November.

Curing

Spanish Queen olives are usually cured using a “Spanish-style” process. In this method, the olives are processed in a short bath of fresh water and lye, and then thoroughly rinsed. After that, the olives are transferred to a brine of sea salt and water to ferment. Some quantities are reserved for natural brine fermentation, which gives the olives a firmer texture and a more intense, slightly bitter flavor.

Pairings

You’ll probably recognize stuffed Spanish Queen olives as the perfect martini garnish. These olives are also ideal to enjoy alongside sharp cheese like gouda, blue cheese, or Manchego. You can also pair them with spicy dry-cured sausage and a full-bodied Merlot.

Quick Facts

  • Hues ranging from light straw green to green.
  • Although universally known as a “Queen” olive it is also known as the Gordal variety.
  • These olives are commonly stuffed with pimento peppers and skewered in martinis.

Did You Know…?

The Gordal olive was marketed as a “Queen” olive to promote it in the United States and has become its common identifier.