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A small almond-shaped olive that is native to Greece.

They may be picked when still green and pressed to make a flavourful and fragrant green-gold olive oil; or they may be allowed to ripen and preserved in brine for six months to make dark eggplant-coloured olives with a rich meaty flavour. After brining the olives are packed in olive oil or wine vinegar; they may be slit to allow the wine vinegar marinade they're soaked in to penetrate the flesh. If your olives taste very sour, drain off the marinade and soak overnight in olive oil.

Kalamata olives are a familiar ingredient in Greek salad, paired with feta cheese, cucumber, tomato, purple onion, and red pepper. They also make excellent olive paste, and are very nice added to pasta sauces, stews like osso buco, and even bread.

Unlike green olives, which are picked before they are ripe, black olives like Kalamatas are easy to pit: simply press on the olive with the flat of a heavy chef's knife and pull on the pit to remove.

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