I’m a huge fan of olives. Strangely enough I actually didn’t like them that much whilst growing up. It’s only when I got older and realised how versatile olives can be and all the health benefits they have that I started widening up to their awesomeness.
Buffet Olives are masters in the world of olives and you can find their products in almost every major supermarket in South Africa. I decided to take a closer look at their operations and the nitty gritty behind what they do and exactly what olives are all about.
Buffet Olives is the largest table olive producer in South Africa and has been supplying top quality olives for over 48 years.
The Buffet Olives farm is located against the foothills of the Drakenstein Mountain range, and borders the picturesque town of Paarl in the Western Cape.
With the combination of granite-based soils and the Mediterranean-like climate of the area, the 300-hectare Buffet Olives farm is an ideal setting for growing olives.
The farm boasts 43000 olive trees which range in age from 1 – 60 years old.
Local workers handpick the olives at the optimal time, in accordance with the cultivar and curing process. The olives are then transported to the Buffet Olives facility. Here the curing process starts, which includes a natural fermentation process. Black olives are left to mature for nine months and green olives for twelve months. The Buffet Olives ISO 22000 accredited processing plant allows the company to take their olives from harvest to processing within eight hours.
After the required amount of curing, olives are then sorted with a state of the art packaging line and pasteuriser within the Buffet Olives facilities. Hygienically sealed, and then sent off to stockists to shelve.
ALL ABOUT THE OLIVES:
Table olives offer a variety of tastes when preserved whole. Each type of olive and its’ curing process would result in a unique flavour and texture. Table olives range from green to black; small and hard to large and fleshy.
On the Buffet Olives farm you will find four different cultivars of olives growing:
- Mission Olives: Mission is by far the most popular cultivar grown in South Africa. It is a dual-purpose olive (can be used for oil and table use) and is very suitable for black processing and gives reliable production under a wide range of conditions. It originates from California, USA. The fruit is of medium size with a fair flesh to pit ratio, which improves as the fruit ripens. Mission is most suitable for black table olives and will give a product an attractive appearance, medium firm to plump texture and good taste when processed correctly.
- Manzanilla: This is one of the most popular table olive cultivars internationally. It is a robust variety with a well-developed canopy. It sets single fruits of medium size that are symmetrical and apple-shaped, as indicated by the name (manzanilla – small apple).
- Barouni: Barouni is of North African origin. The fruit is large, about 9 – 10 grams, with a pit to stone ratio similar to Sevillano. Barouni is marketed as “Queen” olives in South Africa.
- Kalamata: This is the second most important olive variety in Greece. It is mostly grown in the southern region of the Peloponnese (Kalamata, Laconia) and also in central Greece. The fruit is of medium size (from 3 to 6 grams)
Buffet Olives offers the following varieties in store:
- Buffet Anchovy Stuffed Olives: Whether you like anchovies or not, the anchovy and olive combination tends to appeal to a variety of pallets. The combination of flavours that come from the olives and the anchovies bring richness to any dish.
- Buffet Lemon Stuffed Olives: Buffet lemon stuffed olives combine Manzanilla green olives with a zesty mix of lemon.
- Buffet Garlic Stuffed Olives: The garlic stuffed olives combine Manzanilla green olives with fresh garlic.
- Buffet Green Olives: Buffet Green Manzanilla olives are known for the texture and nutty flavour of the olive.
- Buffet Green Pitted Olives: Pitted Olives are convenient to cook with. These olives are processed in the same way as our Manzanilla Green Olives, but are pitted for your convenience.
- Buffet Pimiento Stuffed Olives: Pimiento stuffed olives are the essential ingredient to cocktails such as martinis, for example. They are mainly used as a garnish and can be slightly saltier in taste than other green olives. The pimiento strip (a small type of red pepper) also ads a piquant taste.
- Buffet Queen Olives: These are also green olives and are mainly called ‘queen olives’ due to their extra-large size.
- Buffet Black Olives: The traditional Italian style olive, made from cherry-red olives. They have a pickle flavour with a lingering olive aftertaste.
- Buffet Calamata style olives: These olives are wonderful to serve as a snack on their own with a glass of wine or evening drink. Turn them into a tapenade or enjoy them as they are.
- Buffet pitted Calamata Olives: These are the same at Calamata style olives, but pitted for your convenience.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF OLIVES:
- Eating 10 olives before a meal will reduce your appetite by 22%
- Olives stimulate the production of adiponectin in the body, which is a chemical that burns fat for up to five hours after ingestion. And, because they consist mostly of water, 100g of olives are equal to only 150 calories.
- One cup of olives contains 17% of the daily allowance of fibre, which promotes a healthy digestive tract.
- Olives are a great source of essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
- One of these vitamins is vitamin E, which protects skin from ultraviolet radiation, thus guarding against skin cancer and premature aging.
- Olives also boast Vitamin A, which is crucial for healthy eyes. It enables the eye to better distinguish between light and dark, thereby improving night vision
- The antioxidant nutrients in olives impede the oxidation of cholesterol, thereby helping to prevent heart disease.
- Olives contain healthy fat – the monounsaturated kind, which has been found to increase good cholesterol.
- Olives have anti-inflammatory abilities.
SPAGHETTI WITH ROCKET, TOMATOES, OLIVES AND RICOTTA
300g dried spaghetti
1 red onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
350g mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
125ml dry white wine
12 pitted green buffet olives, finely chopped
1 bunch of rocket, finely chopped
75g ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
Cook spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 10 -12 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil and saute onion and garlic until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook gently, stirring for 5 minutes until softened.
Pour in wine and boil fast until wine has reduced by half.
Toss in rocket, ricotta, buffet olives and pasta and mix well. Season.
Serve with parmesan if you like.