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What's Special about Kalamata Greek Olives

Author Zizzur Staff. Published on July 16, 2011 - 3:07 am (484903 views — 370 words)

One of the most well-known olive varieties in the world today is the Kalamata Greek Olive. This olive variety has an unmistakable fruity taste that is not found in most olives. Because of its robust flavor, it is perfect for pizzas or mixed in a dip. It is enjoyed with some Feta Cheese, another Greek Food Item that is known globally. Matching Feta Cheese and Kalamata Greek Olives as an appetizer is a perfect degustation experience. This great food pairing goes well with almost any type of dish, from appetizers to main courses.

Kalamata is a southern city in Greece, and it is where Kalamata Greek Olives was named after. Kalamata is a relatively large city in its vicinity and the main producer of Kalamata Olives. Locals say that the city got its name from the phrase ”kala matia,” which in Greek means “beautiful eyes,”; this also resembles the Kalamata olive because of its distinct dark, almond shaped appearance. Olives and olive oil play a huge role in the city's economy; this is why locals made sure that the Kalamata olive is protected by the PGS or Protected Geographical Status. PGS is a system developed by the European Union Law that protects the names and reproduction of regional produce. PGS makes sure that only the city of Kalamata is given the privilege of labeling their olives as Kalamata olives. This is the reason locals treat Kalamata Greek Olives as one of the most important economic and cultural food items in their society.

Another unique feature about the Kalamata olive is that it can only be harvested in their ripe stage that is indicated by black color. Kalamata olives are always seen as a dark purple or black olive and never green. Moreover, this olive varietal has to be picked manually because of its soft meat, which entails a more costly price compared to olives that are harvested with a comb or rake.

Dry-curing this olive allows it to bring out most of its flavor which is why growers often use this type of curing method. This curing method is the reason why Kalamata's have a prune-like wrinkly appearance.

Despite its limitations, Kalamata Greek Olives are well loved around the world.