Tasting Notes: Ascolane Olives

Ascolane Olives Typically I don’t like to add pictures to my Tasting notes, only because my hope is that when I refer to these posts later, the words themselves will remind me of the experience. But the olives I picked up were such a vibrant color of green, nearly perfect in the way they looked, that I thought it best to document that as well.

These are Italian olives from the Castellino company, which through me off at first, making me think these were called castellino olives. In fact, this is how they were advertised in the store where I picked them up. Alas, there is no such thing. But I was able to track down the correct variety through pictures and Castellino’s product list.

‘Ascolane’ has become something of a generic term for stuffed olives – these however, are not stuffed olives. In this case Ascolane is the actual name of this Italian olive variety from the “Le Marches” region.

Eyes:Well, look for yourself! Green, large and pitted. The color is like a darkened Granny Smith Apple green. A Very vibrant green for an olive, in my opinion.

Nose: Yes, I’m smelling olives. Sometimes I even weird myself out. A slight salty-citrus smell, it reminds me of limes. The brine aroma is also there, also adding to the sharp aroma.

Taste: It’s somewhat difficult to determine what the actual olive tastes like, because a fair amount of the taste of the olive is determined by the brine used to remove the bitterness of the unripe fruit. So when your tasting an olive, you’re actually tasting what the olive bottling company believes the taste of the olive should be.

In this case, Castellino has produced a very sweet olive, unlike the salty Spanish green olives we Americans are accustomed to. Yes, there’s a saltiness to the Ascolane, but only enough there for you to notice it. It doesn’t overwhelm at all. The texture is solid and “crunchy”…well…as crunchy as the meat of the olive can get. There’s a bit of a metal taste as well which may be natural, or may be imparted when the olive is transported in bulk across the world.

Overall: If you close your eyes when you eat this olive, you could almost imagine it being a black olive. If you’re not one for strong green olives, this would be your olive of choice. I may not pick this up again, but only because I like my olives a little stronger. Call it personal preference if you wish.

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