Different Types of Italian Olives The differing types of Italian olives render the extra virgin oil of the bel paese so noble. These types of olives produce this delicious and sacred nectar, which is in turn influenced by the specific cultivar (types), or Italian olives variety utilized...
Italian Olives, A Myriad of Types
Italian olives are the fulcrum of the entire cuisine of the bel paese. Roughly 250 million trees and 500 diverse types of Italian olives, make this small delicacy the protagonist of panoramas, coloring the hills of Siena, and the countryside of the south. Italian black olives (ripe) and their greener nubbins are entrenched in nearly every aspect of culinary production with extra virgin oils, the de facto indispensable ingredient for Italian recipes.
Taken together, Italy’s olives represents a superior variety compared to other European countries (it is enough to think that Spain and France have “just” 50 types). Each has its own story to tell, geographic origin, terrain and shape. Italian regions cultivate their own specific cultivars, or varietals, and it happens that the same kind changes name in a different part of the country.
Famous Italian black olives are the taggiasca of Liguria, the frantoio of Tuscany and Umbria, the biancolilla and ogliarola in Sicily, coratina and pisciottana in Puglia – the list goes on. Most of them are destined for pressing into olive oil, but others still (purple or green) are employed in traditional preparations, like schiacciata in brine, salt or vinegar.