We're all about olive oil and olives in Morocco. We have different varieties of both and we consume masses and masses of them.
In fact, I used to spend my childhood vacations on the top of an old "m'aassra", these are the olive oil producing units where the oil is (used to be, in my time) extracted in the most traditional way. there was a whole level of flats all smelling olive and olive oil that it does not make any difference passed a few hours of my presence in the flat..I have to mention that the primary schools in Morocco used to give 3 months vacation, out of which half will be spent in Fes with my aunties.
So olives are in my blood, so to say.
The main variety of olive in Morocco is "Moroccan picholine" but there are many others.
We eat olives, we extract oil from them and use the rests to make soap/black soap. We also cook with them (chicken m'qualli with olives here, hmmmm or potato and chicken tagine here which is a nation-favourite to name a few).
Basically, these sellers in Ben'jdia Market (Casablanca) have all what's needed for a yummy olives and tuna sandwich or cheese and olives or cold cuts and olives, harissa is on request but don't skip it! Here is a snack/meal on the go.
So, what do you thing of these olives coming with grated cold cuts and chopped pickles (see below)?
And how about those purple olives which we mostly use in chicken tagines and as a garnish with some salads.
Years and years ago (even now but lesser), I used to see my family members getting their massive buckets of olives from Fes. Then my mother would cure them herself. My parents always loved Meslala as well as the black picholine but left slightly bitter after a few days of curing, while we, the children, preferred the olives with a milder taste and with different marinations. Any olive connoisseur will advise you to buy unpitted olives because they taste much better than pitted ones, especially if you buy them in a brine. Actually, selling unpitted olives in a watery brine should be illegal!
The good news, you don't have to cure your olives from scratch unless you are lucky to get hold of them straight from the tree. If you have visited Morocco or are from there, you are familiar with streets of olive shops who sell them in different colours and marinades..
My next post will be about how to marinate cured olives the Moroccan way! I hope you'll be back to check!