Marinated Olives with Garlic, Rosemary and Thyme

Marinated Olives

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An ancient fruit surrounded by history and acclaim, olives are one of the most enduring symbols of the Mediterranean. The olive tree, its fruit and oil have been significant in the culture and rituals of its native region, the Mediterranean Basin, and the economy of its inhabitants throughout history.

The olive tree has long been a symbol of hope, beauty, peace and fertility. Immortalized by painters such as Cezanne, Van Gogh and Picasso this tree has a special place in the cultural landscape and identity of the area.

The trees tend to favor the rocky, poor soil of the region. Rows of gnarled tree trunks with slim graceful branches and shimmering silvery-green leaves dot the landscape. Plump olives cling from their branches, bearing large quantities of fruit that are harvested between October and January every year.

Marinated Olives with Rosemary

In the south of France after a long day’s work it’s not uncommon to find friends sharing a bowl of olives accompanied by a glass of Pastis preceding dinner.

From small to large, jet black to pale green, plump to delightfully wrinkled, the varieties of olives to be found seem endless, each with their unique personality.

The green ones are picked before fully matured and tend to be mild and nutty. Some are meaty and firm, others soft and yielding. Common varieties in Provence include the niçoise olive, with its nutty, mellow flavor, and the picholine with its buttery texture.

The fact that they are so wonderfully versatile makes me fall even deeper in love with these salty little gems of the Mediterranean.

Marinated Olives with Rosemary and Wine

It doesn’t take much to transform good olives into great ones when marinated in olive oil and aromatic herbs such as thyme and rosemary.

The juicy flesh of the olives pair nicely with the herbs and a little citrus zest helps brighten and marry all the flavors. For a little Provencal twist I add a shot of Pastis (anise-flavored liqueur) to mine for a delicate and subtle anise flavor.

I’m sharing my recipe for Marinated Olives with Garlic, Rosemary and Thyme over on Good Life Eats today. Please join me there for the recipe; these infused mixed olives make a good addition to any cocktail, dinner or cheese tasting party.


But before you go, tell me, what are some of your favorite ways to eat olives?


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  1. says

    I love Olives, they are Divine. Sometimes just the thing a dish needs for that extra layer of flavour! In our cuisine, Olives are always served on the side as a relish to food. Kind of like chutney or pickles. On their own, with a piece of bread, or next to food, they are simply Delish!
    Loved how you tied the whole thing to the symbolism of the olive tree. In Jordan, where I come from, Olive trees are planted in every garden and on every pavement, it is beautiful 🙂
    The photos are gorgeous..

  2. says

    if there is one thing my husband and i love more than our seafood and spice it would be olives! I can eat them any way any how but seriously these look fantastic! Why haven’t I thought to do this before? WOW!

  3. says

    You have me craving an olive (or a bowl). My Yanni & I adore olives! His mom grew up on Crete where her family owned an olive grove. Oh what I would give to be able to indulge in those olives & the gorgeous golden olive oil that they had at their fingertips!

  4. Heidi / foodiecrush says

    These would make great holiday hostess gifts, of there ate any left. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy olives, with a fruity glass of white and some sharp white cheese. Heading over to get your recipe now. Gorg!

  5. says

    Marinated olives are one of those simple things that I just can’t get enough of. Typically, I’d eat these with a baguette and some soft cheese, paired with a glass of crisp white wine… but not with this chilly weather we’re getting. These will have to be nibbled on while cuddling with my dog, a glass of red in my hand.

  6. says

    Lovely and thanks for sharing the background information too. Such a basic food that I’ve never given much thought about. It would be a shame if we didn’t have olives.

  7. says

    Aah, olive with some sharp cheese and a loaf of crusty breat to dip in the marinade. First time here, nice meeting you, love your photos

  8. says

    Sylvie: I have missed coming over here and commenting (have been slowing down the pace a bit…). It’s always a great place to land. There is beauty everywhere, in the images, in the written word, in you. These olives look so sparkling and inviting. I might have to run to the store to get some: and find some pastis and some friends to share them with too, if possible!
    P.s also I just signed up to get your posts via email, so I don’t miss any of them.

  9. says

    Olives are one of my favorite addictions. There was a novel that I read once, and it listed the recipe for olive tapenade at the end of the book. I was enthralled with how that one little segment in the book spoke so much to everyone, that it called for a recipe addition 🙂

  10. says

    Sylvie! gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. this post reminds me of last summer, which i spent in israel. we visited an olive farm that produced the most incredible olive oil on site…so dreamy. i still have one bottle of oil left that i’m hoarding for…well, i don’t know what. zombie apocalypse, perhaps?

    i actually don’t like olives themselves (just their delicious oil!) but my fiance would probably ask me to marry him all over again if i made these gorgeous marinated olives for him!

  11. says

    that is one gorgeous plate of olives. i love olives, but kids have yet to discover them. maybe these photos, taped to the fridge, will entice them!

  12. says

    Wow Sylvie, these olives are stunning. Truly. I am headed to grocery store and now you have me craving olives, but I will have to make my own from your recipe to get ones this good! Thanks for sharing, heading over to check out the recipe now!

  13. says

    Your photos make me drool. And they make me want to suck all the oil off of those olives, then enjoy them with a nice glass of wine. It’s the simple things in life, really.

    Can you share tips on how to get your spouse to like olives even after they declare an aversion? I need help!

  14. says

    This is such a beautiful post – content and images. The best marinated olives I’ve ever tasted included a little orange and were absolutely stunning. Yours sound wonderful – hopping over to Good Life Eats now for the recipe!

  15. says

    I love snacking on olives any time of the day, especially the ones drenched olive oil, lime juice and seasoning 🙂 You’ve made this simple fruit look like a gourmet meal with your amazing shot. Loved the second one the best.

  16. says

    Beautifully written AND photographed, Sylvie. There’s nothing better with a glass of wine than a dish of olives…and so simple to serve. Fun to have a bit of anise flavor in yours.

  17. Lora @cakeduchess says

    I am craving these gorgeous olives. My son has the same love for olives as I do. My in-laws send us their olives from Calabria and we can’t get enough of them. Olives, good cheese, baguette, a little wine…perfection:) Beautiful photos as always Sylvie.xx

  18. says

    Sylvie, I love the simplicity of this recipe but recognize the wonderfully robust taste of olives – what a lovely pairing with thyme and rosemary.

  19. says

    These olives look almost too pretty to eat, but eat them I would, as I love a good olive. One favorite way I love to eat them, is straight from a martini. But, love them on salads, with feta cheese, and in tapenade. But, mostly, alone as a delicious salty snack!

  20. says

    I love olives and snack on them just about every time I open the fridge, well not every time…. I will be making these for sure they look FABULOUS! love you photos, makes me think they are right in front of me to reach out to 🙂

  21. says

    I very much like marinated olives, so far did not marinate them mysef (there’s a market just round the corner, they sell lovely marinated olives). Though, I think it is a great idea marinating yourself.

  22. says

    Growing up in a Greek/ Italian family olives where always around for the grabbing. As an adult I like to keep them on hand as much as possible, and these herb marinated ones look divine! Gorgeous photos too.


  23. says

    I already left a comment on Katie’s blog, but I absolutely adore this recipe and your photos! This is definitely an appetizer I will be trying!

  24. says

    This is a perfect appetizer! I love that its simple dressed and the variety of olives makes a great presentation! It’s a dish that works all year round!

  25. says

    oh yum! I’ve always wanted to marinate my own olives. I love heating marinated olives and semi-sundried tomatoes up before adding the dark leafy greens with soft fetta and topping with some bbq’d steak. yumm… ok now I’m hungry… damnit.

  26. says

    I have always thought olives were kind of overrated, but this recipe makes my mouth water and I think I may now be a lover of olives!

  27. says

    Olives are one of my favorite things to serve at parties and this recipe would be so fun to spruce them up a bit! Thanks for sharing it looks delicious!

  28. says

    You remind me of the time I drove through Provence with my then-boyfriend (now-husband). Between Chateauneuf and Gigondas… and through the Dentelles, we found olive trees EVERYWHERE!!! I love them in any form. 🙂 Beautiful photo.


  29. says

    Hi, this is a very nice recipe, that I would love to try as a side dish for humus and pita. It is a great idea, mixing all kind of olives, with oil, thyme, rosemary…
    Thanks for this recipe. The pictures are amazing full of light and life!
    Can you be my friend in foodbuzz and follow my blog? I will be your friend too, wonderful pictures, thanks, ilibili

  30. says

    My favorite olives are pitted Kalamata’s, marinated or plain, they are delicious! I love olives, after looking at your beautiful pictures, i’d love to have a combo with those delicious fresh herbs and some feta to go with them, and some herb bread too for dipping! Thanks for sharing!