Some of the best olives resemble my ex: zesty, large and Sicilian.
Olives are natural, simple and have been eaten in their current form for millennia. They were once consumed by the same people who believed in the Olympians. Quite humbling for such a small… Fruit? Berry? Whatever they are. I like them. Although I am no expert!
I usually garnish my martinis with lemon peel but I am certainly not averse to doing so with two olives.
Either way, its always nice to have at least some olives to serve with a martini. I also think they are marginally more healthy than processed snacks such as crisps or crackers (although I like those too!).
I know very little about olives so I am not really qualified to talk about this (comments and suggestions welcome!) but my absolute favourites, especially to serve with martinis, are like the ones I was given in the bar in the Duke’s Hotel. The moment I ate them I loved the flavour. They were pitted and stuffed with something flavoursome so I asked the waiter what it was.
“Anchovies” the waiter told me. “Really?” I asked. I couldn’t believe it, having never really warmed to anchovies in the past I was very surprised, but nonetheless converted immediately.
In Great Britain I tend to find these olives in cans, usually a brand from Spain. I’m not sure how available they are elsewhere in the world but I spent an hour looking for them in Beirut and was unsuccessful. To be honest, Lebanon has a multitude of it’s own natural olives. It’s also generally a difficult place to find anything specific, it’s more a place of lucky surprises when you find something you love when you least expected it.
But I digress. I normally avoid things in a can or a tin, but the tinned brand of anchovy-stuffed olives in find in the UK do the trick. Crucially, they last for a while, so if you stock up and keep some cans in a cupboard you’re always ready to serve them with an impromptu martini (you never know when someone might drop round).
I’m sure some people won’t like these olives but almost everyone I’ve served them to has loved them.
If you’re really averse to tinned things and you happen to be in London, you might want to take the time to go to Borough Market. A Middle Class scrum with prams, the place nonetheless continues to delight with its wondrous diversity of edible goods. There is a lovely Spanish restaurant there called Brindisa with really nice staff and a great meaty breakfast that’s good for a hangover (be it a martini hangover, or tequila, lager, or any other kind – all scenarios tested with dedication by the author). Brindisa also has a small shop in the market selling various tasty goodies many of which would go well with a martini. For the purpose of this blog entry though, they are notable for selling… yes… fresh olives stuffed with anchovies. Just indicate how many you need and they’ll give you a packet. Apparently they were manzanilla olives (my spanish is not good but it was pronounced along the lines of manthaneeja).