Sunday, March 2, 2014

Think Of Greece - Think Of OLIVES!

When you think of olives, you imagine a little bowl on a bar counter, ordering a small bowl to go with your meal at a restaurant, or in your martini . They are also very popular because of the oil that they produce, but what do you really know about where they came from?

Olives are grown on olive trees that are native to the Mediterranean area. They are an evergreen tree or shrub that is very short, usually no taller than 50 feet. These trees are incredibly strong. Olive trees last for many years, but usually don’t start growing the actual fruit until they are about 6 or 7 years old. These trees are grown in abundance in the Mediterranean countries. There are about 18 million tons of trees produced each year with 95% of them being from the Mediterranean area.

Every type of olive comes from a different area, therefore there are not all kinds of different olive trees in one area. The different kinds of olives are Empeltre, Hojiblanca, Lechin, Picual, Cornicabra, Verdial, Arbequina, Picudo and varieties. There are also the most common olives in the United States, which are the black and green olives. Each one of these olives have a different taste depending on where they are grown, inside or outside, the heat, and the soil. These are all factors that change the taste of olives! Olives are harvested at the green stage but can be left to ripen which darkens their color and we get what we know as black olives.

Olives are used in a variety of ways. They can be eaten whole or cultivated into oil. In kitchens all over the world, olive oil is the most common cooking oil. It is also very common to have olive oil salad dressings. Just like traditional mediterranean kitchens, Ziziki’s uses olive oil for cooking too. For example- our calamari is lightly sautéed with olive oil, white wine, and lemon. Another favorite dish with olive oil is our shrimp, it is marinated to perfection with olive oil and herbs. If you are looking for a delicious appetizer that is sure to please your Greek craving the artichoke dip & pita bread should be your number one choice; it is even served with whole kalamata olives. You can also just order a few olives on the side with any of our dishes if you would please.

After all, the Ziziki’s menu would not be so perfect unless it served foods that were full of strong flavors, like olives and garlic. These are the backbone to the every Greek meal, So come on “oliver” and eat a "Big Fat Greek Dinner"!

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