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Tehama Trail Blog

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Feb 2014

Tapenade is an olive pâté, or spread, that originated in the Mediterranean region and Southern France. "Tapenas" is the Provençal word for capers, the edible flower buds of a shrub native of the region called caper bush or Flinders rose.


Capers were once carried to market in ceramic vases. During transport, a naturally occurring paste formed in the base of these containers. Since this bi-product was not saleable on its own, olives – another abundant crop in the region – were blended with the paste to form an edible condiment.

According to Pablo Voitzuk, olive oil expert at Pacific Sun Olive Oil, “The marriage of these vibrant, wholesome ingredients is perfect, offering a zesty, bright set of flavors.”

Once you add the remaining ingredients for tapenade, he says, “You will experience the nice acidic presence of the capers and lemon juice, the bitterness of the olives and lemon zest, the saltiness from the olives, and of the anchovies, if you use them, the herbs, the sweetness of the garlic and of the olives.”

Pacific Sun’s Tehama Blend, an EVOO with fruity notes and a subtle peppery finish, will add pungency to make a rich, delicious paste.

To serve tapenade as an appetizer, spread it on a piece of sweet baguette, toasted or untoasted. It can also be used as a sandwich spread or veggie dip, or use tapenade to stuff mushrooms – a real crowd pleaser.

The recipe we would like to share with you is made with black olives. If you don’t have black olives on hand and want to use green, kalamata, or a mix, just remember your tapenade will have a different flavor.

Also, “If you buy commercial olives cured with lye, the tapenade will be softer, something that can still be quite enjoyable. This will also be the case if you want to use green olives instead of black ones,” says Pablo.

Try adding mustard or Cognac, or other creative ingredients to further customize your tapenade.

Pacific Sun Olive Oil Tapenade

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups pitted, ripe black olives

2 Tbls rinsed capers

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 tsp lemon zest

Juice of 1/4 lemon

1/4 cup Pacific Sun's Tehama blend EVOO

1 tsp of chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme)



2 anchovy fillets (optional)

How to prepare:

Sautee the garlic on low heat for 2 minutes. Add the capers, olives, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir and transfer to a food processor. Blend all the ingredients on low, adding the olive oil a little at a time until a nice paste is formed. Transfer tapenade to a serving dish. Garnish with thyme (or finely chopped parsley if that’s more your taste). Season with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Find Tehama Blend and other Pacific Sun extra virgin olive oils at

Pacific Farms & Orchards Inc. is a third-generation, family-owned and -operated farm situated in Gerber at the northern end of California’s fertile Central Valley. For more information about Pacific Sun Olive Oil, call (530) 385-1475.

The Pacific Sun family would love to hear from you!


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