Varieties of Olives

Arbequina olives are highly aromatic, small, symmetrical and dark brown. In Europe, it is mostly grown in Catalonia, Spain, but it is also grown in Aragon and Andalusia, as well as Argentina, Chile, and Australia. It has recently become the dominant olive cultivar in California, largely under highly intensive, “super high-density” plantation. Oils made from Arbequina olives are generally buttery, fruity, and very mild in flavor.

Arbosana olives are originally from Catalonia, Spain, and yield a more “robust” oil than Arbequina, which produces a “delicate” EVOO. Arbosana olive oil tastes more peppery, or pungent. The olive also delivers a higher level of polyphenols – the chemical substances found in plants that may cut the risk of heart disease and cancer. Arbosana olive oil delivers hints of green tomato, almond, and green banana.

Varieties of Olives

Cerasuola olives are native to western Sicily and grow well in harsh climates. These black olives have a high oil yield that results in a medium intensity oil with a balance of bitter, spicy and sweet notes.

Chetoui, the second principal variety of olive-tree in Tunisia, gives a fruity oil with green almond flavors and contains a very high phenolic compound (>300 ppm) which gives this variety a stability against high levels of oxidation

Cobrançosa is a rare variety of olive on the international market. Cobrançosa is the most sought-after of all Portuguese varieties and comes originally from the mountainous region of Trás-os-Montes.

Coratina is one of the most important Italian varieties, especially favored in the area of Puglia, the largest olive growing area of Italy.

Empeltre is a medium-sized black olive grown from Pedrola, Aragon, in Spain.

Hojiblanca (literally translated, “white leaf” in Spanish) represents 16% of the olive production in Andalucia and is grown mainly in the Spanish provinces of Seville, Cordoba and northern Málaga. It is collected late in the season (March-April), which leads to a lower production rate. It is also harder to pick as it rarely falls from the trees on its own. Its vegetable flavors, smoothness, aftertaste and lower level of saturated fat make this a much prized variety.
Hojiblanca is the third most planted variety in Spain behind Manzanillo and Picual. It is a true dual-purpose variety. It is rated highly as a table fruit and produces excellent quality olive oil.

Koroneiki olives originated from the southern Peloponese, around Kalamata and Mani in Greece. This small olive, though difficult to cultivate, has a high yield of olive oil of exceptional quality.

Manzanillo olives are the most common variety of Spanish olive, a medium-sized green to purple-black olive cultivar grown especially in and around Seville, Andalusia. It is also grown in America, Portugal, Israel, Argentina and Australia. It is the one of the most highly rated table olive varieties in the world.

Marteña, another version of Picual, is the queen of Spanish varieties. It gives magnificently robust, full, stable oils, with bitter-sweet pungency.

Mission olives are a cultivar of olive native to California, developed by Spanish missions along El Camino Real in the late 1700s. It is also the only American olive cultivar listed by the International Olive Council in its World Catalogue of Olive Varieties. Although native to the United States, Mission olives are also used by South African olive oil producers.
California Mission Olives are unique in that they are suitable for both the pressing of oil and the curing of table olives. Both black oil-cured and green brine-cured table Olives are mild in flavor. Depending on the degree of ripeness, the oil made from early harvests can have a mild grassy, astringent taste, while a later harvest yields a smooth and mild taste.

Nocellara olives come from the Belice valley in Sicily. One of the most renowned olive cultivars in the world, Nocellara del Belice is noted for its round taste, strong scent and natural antioxidants. Olive oil from this variety has a very low level of acidity (.20 to .25%) and long shelf life.
Used for its oil as well as for table olives, the Nocellara del Belice variety has a green to purplish-red color and is characterized by its large, plump size. Harvested starting in mid-October, the cultivar has a medium yield, and produces an oil with notes of artichokes, tomatoes, almonds, and light spicy and bitter sensations.

Picual, from southern Spain (province of Jaén), is the most widely cultivated olive in Spain, comprising about 50% of Spain’s olive production and around 20% of world olive production. It has a strong but sweet flavor, and is widely used in Spain as a table olive.
The Boort Estate in southeastern Australia boasts expansive olive groves that are carefully cultivated to produce picual olives—oval with firm flesh and a defined point at the end.