Get to Know Our Olives: Varieties and Flavours

Fri, Apr 14, 23

Olives are a delicious and healthy snack, but did you know that there are different varieties of olives that produce unique oils with different flavour profiles? Let's take a closer look at the olive we grow here at Juno Olives and their unique characteristics.

Our grove is home to three incredible varieties of Italian olives: Leccino, Frantoio, and Moraiolo. These beauties all produce elliptical fruit that ripen early to a stunning dark purple or black color, making them a sight to behold!

Leccino olives are a rustic Italian variety that appear to have a special immune defence against bacterial infections that affect olive trees. This makes them especially resilient and desirable for farmers. 

Frantoio olives are perfect for the cooler climate of the Wairarapa region, as they need cold days to stimulate fruit production. They are also known for being more disease-resistant, again making them a popular choice among farmers. And if you love to fry your foods, you'll be happy to know that Frantoio EVOO is very stable and won't break down easily.

If you're a fan of fruity olive oils, you'll definitely want to try Moraiolo (when you can!). These olives are notoriously finicky to grow and are susceptible to disease, but when they do produce olives, the resulting oil is considered to be one of the highest quality and most desirable Italian olive oils. It's perfect for baking and will add a delicious fruity aroma and flavour to your dishes.

Koroneiki olives are a Greek variety that account for over 50% of olives grown in Greece. These tiny green olives are notoriously difficult to shake from the trees, so we often hand-harvest these. But it's worth the effort - the resulting oil is fruity and has hints of green bananas and apples, with a moderate-to-high spicy taste.

If you're looking for an oil that's both stable and packed with health benefits, you'll want to try Picual olives from Spain. They produce a large olive that is easy to harvest mechanically and the resulting oil is stable and perfect for cooking. It has a higher oleocanthal content than most other varieties, giving it a unique, peppery taste. Oleocanthal is a compound associated with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties, making Picual oil both delicious and good for you.

Last but not least, we have the Picholine olives from France. These are the largest olives we grow and are usually used to produce eating olives in their native France. But from our grove, they produce a consistently grassy-tasting oil with a high polyphenol level and a peppery, spicy finish. If you're looking for a flavourful oil to use in your cooking or to drizzle over your favourite dishes, you can't go wrong with Picholine oil. This is my favourite oil from the grove!

So there you have it – a quick guide to some of the most popular olive varieties and their unique characteristics. Whether you're a fan of fruity oils or spicy finishes, there's an olive variety out there that's perfect for you. Come along to our tasting room and discover your new favourite.