Greece is well known for producing the world’s finest olives. The Greek city of Kalamata is home to the famous ‘Kalamata’ olive variety, also known as ‘Calamon’. This variety grows in small regions of the southern Peloponnese Peninsula. Our Kalamon trees thrive in optimal growing conditions with a microclimate ideally suited for the cultivation of premium olives. Our groves are located along the sun-drenched mountainous coast of Lakonía, just east of Kalamata. The olives are carefully handpicked and selected at peak ripeness, usually in early December. These full-bodied Kalamata olives are naturally cultivated and cured, just as they were centuries ago, without the use of pesticides, chemicals, or additives. DÁFNI Greek Kalamata olives faithfully reflect the unique characteristics and traditions of Greece’s Peloponnese Peninsula, and deliver a genuine, delicious taste you are sure to savor.
DÁFNI Kalamata olives are flavorful, all natural, and nutritious. Greek olives have been a basic component of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. Greeks are attracted to fresh, light, and nourishing food. They consider olives to be a necessary daily nutrient. Olives are low in calories, high in iron and calcium, and high in vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. Kalamata olives contain amino acids and specific unsaturated fatty acids that are essential to human nutrition. Research in the U.S. and Europe show that mono-unsaturated fatty acids, present in olives, can help fight heart disease by lowering the level of LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol”), and by maintaining intact HDL cholesterol, which is beneficial in decreasing the risk of clogged arteries. In fact, no other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of mono-unsaturated fat as olive oil. Seventy-five percent of the oil in an olive is oleic acid which is a mono-unsaturated fat.
Following the harvest, our olives are shipped from Greece to our Lakonía headquarters in Saco, Maine, where we pack them in our own exclusive gluten-free brine recipe. A good olive should be firm and its flavor should never compete with the taste of the brine. Lakonía’s recipe contains less salt than most brine, so the delicate flavor of the olive fruit is complemented, not compromised. The recipe consists of water, apple cider vinegar, Pacific Sea Salt, and DÁFNI Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Our brine recipe ensures that DÁFNI Greek Kalamata Olives retain their unique fresh flavor.
The left over brine is delicious to use with seafood, meats, pasta, salads, and vegetables. Combine olive oil and an herb of your choice to the brine for a tasty marinade, dressing to sauté with, or for bread dipping. Don't let it go to waste! Much time and effort go into making our Kalamata olives perfect in flavor and we take the extra step to make sure we achieve the same level of quality with every batch. During the curing period, the olives are periodically taste tested and the recipe may be adjusted due to the variations that may occur in a particular batch. It is essential to package our olives at peak flavor, and we do so in small batches to ensure freshness and maximum shelf life.
Kalamata olives are world renowned. They have a delectable texture, dark eggplant color, and rich fruity flavor. They are essential to Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, and are used to flavor numerous dishes from salads and pasta to pizza, and sandwiches. They are a perfect topping to any salad, and an essential ingredient in Greek Salads. Olives are a nice healthy snack right out of the jar, and are traditionally used as finger food. Due to their strong flavor, they work well in cooked dishes and tapenades. They can add extraordinary richness and flavor to soups, stews, casseroles, and are a delicious addition to sauces, rice, poultry, meats, and fish. For a delicious sandwich spread, dip, or topping to fish and poultry, remove the pit from your olives, add olive oil, garlic, and your favorite seasonings. They are the olive of choice for baking olive bread.
Lakonía Cooking Tip: Kalamata olives become bitter if they are over cooked, so it is sometimes better to add them to hot dishes at the last minute. Also, the brine that olives are packed in can be used as a replacement for salted water in many recipes!
The Kalamata olive is smooth, dark in color, and almond shaped, ranging in length from about 1⁄2 to 1 inch. Plump and juicy, the olive offers an earthy, powerful flavor. However, fresh olives that are unprocessed are actually inedible because of their extreme bitterness. This bitterness is due to the glycoside content, which is neutralized while the olives are cured in salt water brine. This olive fruit is classed botanically as a drupe, similar to a peach or plum. Within the stone of each olive are one or two seeds.
Olives are a great choice for a low-calorie snack or recipe ingredient. They add flavor and variety with only 7 calories per extra large olive. One serving of olives (3) contains only 3% of recommended daily fat intake. Olives can help reduce symptoms of Lyme Disease, Athlete's Foot, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They have anti-inflammatory properties and have been documented to reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Olives contain substances called polyphenols that are believed to help ward off cancer. Polyphenols give the olive its taste and aroma.
Keep the olives refrigerated before and after opening for peak freshness and flavor due to their low sodium content. The shelf life before and after opening is three to six months. Kalamata olives are best served at room temperature, enhancing the olive’s natural flavor.
We add a layer of DÁFNI Extra Virgin Olive Oil to each jar to seal out air, preserve freshness, and add additional flavor and health benefits. The oil will temporarily congeal when cooled, but return to its natural state at room temperature - so take the olives out of the fridge before use.
The particles found in the brine are normal. Our olives are not pitted. The stone is the “Heart of the Olive,” says Daphne, founder of Lakonía Greek Products. It keeps the olives firm, and not over salty and brine flavored.
In Greece it is a tradition to use Kalamata olives as a Greek meze. A meze is not a meal course like an appetizer, but rather a dish that may be hot or cold, savory or spicy and often salty. It is served alone or with other mezethes as a separate eating experience. There are a couple purposes of the meze; it provides the setting for a social gathering, and most importantly to enhance and compliment the taste of a drink, whether it’s ouzo, wine or raki. It is very common for family or friends to gather for some mezethes where they can enjoy several of these delicious dishes over a drink and conversation. The mezethes are shared by all at the table, provide a pleasant variety of flavors, and contribute to a cheerful, almost noisy ambiance, which Greeks are known for.
Mezethes are great choices for buffet meals and parties. A bowl of Kalamata olives served with cheese, wine and sliced meats are sure to please. Drizzling olive oil and wild Greek oregano over the olives adds a nice finishing touch. They are a great addition to compliment hors d’oeuvres or vegetable platters.
Our olives are made in a gluten-free apple cider vinegar brine and contain only 190 mg of salt. They are marvelous on pizza, in salads, omelets, sandwiches, or as an addition to grilled vegetables- especially zucchini and sweet peppers. They are perfect for breads and pâtés and are natural partners with a variety of tomato dishes, both cooked and fresh.