Olive And Antipasti
Olives are native to the Mediterranean region. The history of this fruit goes back almost as far as Western Civilization. Evidence proves that olives were grown in Crete in 2500 B.C. From there, the popularity of the olive spread to Greece, Rome, and other Mediterranean districts.
The most important olive-growing areas are in the Apulia Region, which accounts for 45% of the total olive growing area; Calabria (19%); Sicily (10%); Campania (7%), Lazio (5%), Tuscany, and Sardinia (3% respectively), are some famous olive-growing areas in Italy.
Olives vary greatly in flavor, oil content, and shape. Shapes differ considerably and can be elongated, oval, or round. Raw olives are often bitter and uneatable, but some varieties can be eaten raw, once sun-dried.
The history of antipasto is rooted in medieval Italy. Sweet and savory finger foods such as sugared nuts and sliced ham got diners in the mood for a meal. With the evolution of Italian cuisine, antipasto has taken on the form of many new dishes.
The combination of flavors in an antipasto engages all aspects of our taste, from sweet to salty to sour to bitter to umami. In addition, there are many textures present in an antipasto presentation.
Sweet elements of antipasto may include sugared nuts with a crunch, or the sweetness of a pickled sweet onion or pepper, or a light seasonal fruit.