Fresh basil is one of the world’s great culinary pleasures, used to delicious effect in Italian and southern Asian cuisine. Submerge fresh, pitted green olives in cold-pressed sunflower oil and extra-virgin olive oil, with wild garlic and plenty of basil, and you have a recipe for delight. Just tip into a bowl and enjoy, or serve alongside freshly sliced tomatoes and cheese for a delicious lunch.
On the ancient coast of southern Greece lies Kalamata, a city surrounded by olive groves since Classical times. The olives grown there are unique, aubergine coloured, almond shaped and succulent. So good are they, in fact, that the name has been awarded European Protected Designation of Origin status; as with Champagne in the wine world, only olives grown in that particular region are allowed to be called Kalamata. The very best are organic, helping to preserve the old olive groves as sanctuaries for wildflowers, insects and birds.
Olives are cultivated all around the Mediterranean and deep into the Middle East and the Arabian peninsula. Each country and culture has its own ways of preparing olives, creating the most enticing combinations of local ingredients and we have sought out some time-honoured favourites. For our Kasbah blend we use rich purple Kalamata olives and fresh green olives, drenching them in the flavours of the Levant: cumin and coriander, garlic and chilli, parsley and mint. And the last ingredient, which gives the olives that unique, delicate fragrance? Rosewater.
In the remote south west of Sicily lies the Valle del Belice, home to a unique pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese and to a large green olive renowned for its succulent flesh and delicate flavour. We present our Nocellara del Belice olives whole, unpitted and in cold-pressed oils, preserving that buttery flavour until you take your first bite. Delicious served with a pecorino or similarly nutty, crumbly cheese, or simply enjoyed with a glass of ice cold white wine.
Known in Greece as Ἀθήνα, or Athina, the ancient city of Athens is celebrated in this gorgeously colourful blend. First comes a layer of sun-dried tomatoes, cut into tantalizing strips to release intense bursts of flavour. Next come purple Kalamata and green Chalkidiki olives, pitted and seasoned with oregano. And lastly, in contrast to the rounded forms of the olives, cubes of tangy feta, a cheese first made by nomadic farmers many centuries ago and unchanged since. Plunge in a fork, mix the layers together, and enjoy!