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.