Whole, pitted, sliced, or stuffed with pepper, any way you enjoy them, European olives are essential to Mediterranean cuisine and cooking. With thousands of textures, flavors, and ways to enjoy them every day, when you put them at your table, you are choosing a product with more than 2,000 years of European tradition. Renowned chef José Andrés has declared himself a lover of the olive, in their many forms, and has celebrated their delicious diversity at his Washington, DC restaurant Jaleo, where he has shared with attendees how to “have an olive day” with tasty messages and tips.
The gathering has been promoted by the Interprofessional Organization of Table Olives (INTERACEITUNA), in collaboration with the European Union, entities that have invited food lovers to bring “Put Europe at your table. Have an Olive Day with Olives from Spain” to raise awareness of the olive in American gastronomy. The information campaign on this foodstuff of European origin has also included promotional activities at the Mercado Little Spain in New York.
The U.S. is the main market for olives produced in European Union, importing more than 293 million pounds in 2020, representing a value of more than $427 million dollars. More than 79% of the those consumed by Americans came from countries integrated into the European Union. In fact, Spain, the country where chef José Andrés is from, is the world leader in both the production and export of table olives, with 20% of international production and 28% of global exports.
“You can discover the world through food. Something so small as an olive can turn your day into a better one,” says José Andrés. “I mean, are you a person who thinks all olives are the same? Today, try manzanilla, tomorrow hojiblanca, the next day queen olives. Spicy, meaty, tangy. It’s the variety, the spice of life”.
Due to its great versatility in the kitchen, European table olives can easily be integrated into infinite preparations, from savory breads and salads to main dishes, even enhancing sweet snacks like cookies and cakes, there is a wealth of ways to bring olives to your table with both classic and creative recipes.