Trader Joe’s (Jacques) Lucques Olives

If you are a foodie, as I like to think I am sometimes, you will want to get as many jars of these olives as possible before Trader Joe’s pulls the plug on this product. I could be wrong and they might last on the shelves for years, but we all know how fleeting some of our favorite TJ products can be.

This brings us to the Lucques Olives. They are under the brand name Trader Jacques which usually means it’s a product of France. I love most of the products that Trader Joe’s imports from France. I think many of their French imported foods are excellent, especially some of the things in the frozen section. The Europeans have really nailed down the ability to freeze a dish, stick it in a bag, and have it turn out almost as good as homemade!

On to the olives… We love olives and we eat pounds of them. Olive Oil too! We use  gallons of it around here and I always have a few liters floating around. My wife loves to bring out the olives as an appetizer when friends come over. When she saw these olives on the shelf at Trader Joe’s a few months ago she picked them up to test,  immediately dove into them when we got home, and WOW! For the first time ever she found an olive that paired well with wine, especially white wine.

What makes these olives so special? Lucques olives are originally from the Lucca region in Italy and like grapevines, these olive trees were imported a long time ago into southern France where they found a home in the Languedoc and Herault regions. The trees are finicky as olive trees go and are very sensitive to weather conditions. They are low yielding and are mostly hand harvested. The olives are picked green (as opposed to Kalamata which are picked when dark colored). They are packed in a light brine solution which pairs well with their mild flavor. They aren’t used much in oil production because of their firm flesh and low yields, so mainly they are a table olive used for eating.

The olives themselves are slightly crescent shaped and fairly large as olives go. They are pale green in color and have a firm outer skin. They have a fairly fleshy firm texture that comes away from the pit easily. When I bite into one I first taste the salty brininess then the flesh tastes like marcona almonds (with the skins), avocado, and hints of grass and green beans. Olives are notoriously hard to pair with wine, but with the meaty texture and depth of flavor, these are a perfect match!

How do you use these olives? It depends on your recipe. I think the vast majority of these olives are eaten straight out of the jar as a table olive, but you can use them in any recipe that calls for green olives – removing the pit as needed. We put them out for friends, sometimes adding fresh herbs to the bowl, and pair with wine and cheese, crackers or bread.

My wife and I are both bestowing  the first ever 10 Bells on a Trader Joe’s product. This is a perfect olive and I applaud Trader Joe’s for finding a source and importing them into this country at a reasonable price. I would stock up on these quickly. They seem to come and go and the last time I was at Traders they were out – but that was right after New Years Eve entertaining. The only quibble: I wish they included the year they were grown on the jar, but that’s just a minor thing.

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8 Replies to “Trader Joe’s (Jacques) Lucques Olives”

    1. I just was at my local Trader Joe’s here in WA state and they are out. Good thing I have a few jars in the cupboard! I wouldn’t worry too much. I’ve seen them come and go since they were introduced last year.

  1. FYI everybody – Bought a jar of these last year and became an instant fan. I raved about them to my family but went to T.J.s this summer to pick up another jar and they were not to be found!!! I talked to the manager who assured me that I should not worry as they are not discontinued, they are SEASONAL. Whew! What a relief! She said to keep an eye out on T.J.’s shelves in the FALL.

  2. I was told that the Lucques olives come out in jars after each harvest and run out some time in the spring of the following year. They were out all summer at Trader Joe’s store and became available again in early winter. There are still available but may run out soon if it worked out the same as last year. Lucques are the freshest tasting French olives and have for a long time a favorite of olive fans. They are crisper and firmer than most and with a fresher and less salty taste. They are grown in southern France in the Languedoc region. They are my favorite olives. They are also available in gourmet stores bulk. They are often greener when bought bulk. Although the Trader Joe’s jarred variety has a color that is less bright, the flavor is completely correct and at a better price than most bulk sources I have seen. Having them in the jar also means longer shelf life as they won’t become moldy in the jar as opposed to bulk. Enjoy!

  3. Haven’t ever seen these at our Trader Joe’s. Will have to keep an eye open!

    I assume these must be pasteurized to ship abroad. If you’re ever in the Languedoc, look for “fresh” ones: that is, brined but not pasteurized. Much more flavor when fresh. Purely the best eating olive ever.

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