Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Day 356 - Quartet of Greek Olives

FIRST, AN ANNOUNCEMENT – the blog hit 70,000 views (year to date) this morning!!!!!!!!!!  I was quietly hoping that might happen before the big finish (I say “quietly” but on the home front I was not quiet about it, “David, if I had 526 views today, do you think I will have enough to get 70,000 by year end???” etc., etc., etc.  Just ask David.  Wait, don’t ask him, please.  I have asked him enough times.

But all of my asking WORKED!  Thank you so much for reading along this year.  Seriously, I thought I was writing these for myself really, maybe a couple friends or family members.  Never did I imagine this little project would escalate to 70,000 hits (before Christmas even!!).

I was (ok, am...) a little excited.
This morning we got up at 5:30 AM and drove an hour to Washington Oaks Garden State Park and watched the sunrise for a Winter Solstice Celebration.  Not being morning people, getting up that early was quite the accomplishment (especially considering we could have slept 1.5 hours longer and walked a block and a half in our jammies to the beach at our house and had our own private sunrise solstice event, then crawled back in bed J ).  But it was a lovely way to start the day, and when we got back to the car (and to my phone) I checked stats and that’s when I got the good news.  So my winter started off great – sunrise and 70,000. 

Sunrise Solstice - happy winter everyone!
Today’s review is of a holiday product that we found on the shelves – Quartet of Greek Olives.  I purchased it because, of course, we are olive lovers.  Also, because TJ’s seemed to have a thing with “quartets” this holiday season – we also have the Quartet of Nuts (yet to be reviewed) and the names of the two products made me think of Christmas carols (sung by quartets, of course…).

This is the box
 The Quartet of Greek Olives contains 4 varieties (hence the “quartet-ness”) of olives with pits:
·         Amfissa
·         Kalamon
·         Sundried Kalamon
·         Marinated Chalkidiki
Each variety of olive comes in its own vacuum packed 180 gram bag.  The fours bags are then put into a quaint little box.  The box says the olives are prepared exclusively for Trader Joe’s and that these were the most delicious varieties and preparations that they could find across Greece.

He looks sort of "stunned" but he was actually excited...  I think this is in the Omaha, Nebraska Trader Joe's
Here is David’s review:  “I celebrate any opportunity to broaden the palate of the olive consumer, so I think this is a nice idea.  Actually, some of them I am not so fond of, and some of them I do like very much.  I think that much like going to see theatre at a Fringe Festival*, you have to be willing to go see some things that you end up not liking in order to be able to catch the whole breadth of the art form. 

I had to include a photo of this adorable olive dish - it says "Take Olive Me".  Too cute, eh?
So, I would say my least favorite is the sundried kalamon. – although if I WERE going to enjoy it, I can picture enjoying it in some sort of a creamy cheese sort of environment, like perhaps a spanakopita cheesy pastry thing, or maybe with a chevre.  Because the sundried kalamon olive itself tends to be kind of dry and dries out your mouth.  I have not tried the regular kalamon yet.  The marinated chalkidiki is freaky deaky!!!  It has a nice hotness to it,yet it is a green olive so it is lush and meaty.  I like it, although I prefer the AMFISSA.  It is a green olive that is meaty, fleshy, and comes away from the stone nicely.  It is just your standard easy eatin’ olive.

I give the Quartet of Greek Olives a 4.25.”

And here is my review:  I agree with David on the dryness of the sundried kalamon.  I did NOT like that olive.  When you first put it in your mouth you notice the texture is a little bit weird.  But after it has been in your mouth for, like, half a second, you realize it has somehow magically sucked all the spit out of your mouth!  It is really quite bizarre.  I have never really experience anything like that before…  It is hard to describe!  It didn’t seem to suck the spit out of my TONGUE, it sucked the spit out of the inside of my GUMS (the part that is under your tongue).  The dryness made it difficult to even CHEW the olives.  I tried 3 or 4 of them, hoping the first one was just a dud or something, but they were all the same.  I have no idea why this came to mind, but it is almost like there is ALUM in these…  But how do I even know what ALUM tastes like???  I dunno…  It is bizarre.  Even just writing about it now is making my mouth dry out just thinking about it! 

However, I am in LOVE with the marinated chalkidiki olives!  I think if someone filled up a big bowl of those and placed it in front of me with a tag that said “dinner” I could just eat those and be happy.  They are really, really, really good!  And come to think of it, Trader Joe's served this olive up in a DUET this summer!!!!  I reviewed it here .  I think they need to keep these marinated chalkidikis year round.  

I also like the amfissa olives in this quartet, the ones David loves so much.  We have not tried the regular kalamon yet.

I like the packaging of these – that each is in its own little bag.  When we buy olives at the “olive bar” at a grocery store near our house, I like to keep the varieties separate, so I appreciate that TJ’s kept them like that.  One disadvantage of the packaging is that if you do not plan to eat them all in one sitting you need to find a way to STORE them.  I have put them in plastic containers, but if you had little glass jars those would be good, too. 

Here are the little individually sealed bags.  Cool!
We bought one box and I opened and ate the marinated chalkidikis.  Then I worried because we were out of the really delicious ones!  So I bought a second box.  Remember that these are a holiday item and once they are gone from the shelves this month they will be gone until next year (and not everything comes back every year, but I hope these do, are you listening TJ’s corporate??). 

David would like to add, “If you are the kind of person who thinks of olives as the  marinated green things in the jars, or black olives, or those shriveled black ones, you need to recognize that you are basically one of those people that thinks is an apple is a Red Delicious.  There is a WORLD out there of apples/olives:  like the Russet, and the Gala, and the Cox’s Orange Pippin…  These are some of the olives that are available to you!  So I would recommend branching out just to have the experience so that you can see what you might like more or less.”

This is an olive.
So, even though I would prefer this box to be a TRIO than a QUARTET since neither of us like one of the varieties included, I am not at all disappointed that we sprung for these and invested in two boxes.  We recommend we go grab a box before your TJ’s runs out of them.

Five bucks for this many tasty olives is a bargain.
I agree with David on the score – 4.25.

Price – $4.99
Rating – 4.25

 *Fringe Festivals:  David mentioned “Fringe Festivals” above.  They are festivals of plays, often unjuried, where artists can perform their work in a supportive environment.  We travel to Fringe Festivals with 2 solo shows that David performs (“7 ( x 1 ) Samurai” and “A Little Business at the Big Top”) and we really like the fringe atmosphere.  You can learn more about Fringe Festivals in general here and see a clip of David’s “Samurai” piece here    .  Let me know what you think of it!!  J

Bonus sunrise photo for anyone still reading.  :)


  1. Are you really and truly ending this Dec. 31??? Please pretty please keep it going. Joni

    1. Joni Joni Joni... :) People keep pulling at my heartstrings here!
      I have some ideas. I need to find time to sit down and put them all together in my head, then make them magically appear in a shareable format! Soon, soon (I keep saying that to myself, soon, soon..).


  2. I can't believe you were at Washington Oaks! My husband and I have been there several times through the years as it's not too far from us.

    1. It is lovely there!!!! It was out first time visiting. That would have been funny if we were both there yesterday but didn't recognize each other!

  3. Thank you for your blog! I enjoy reading it here in Wisconsin.

    From what I understand of olive processing, there's a stage at which the olives are processed with lye or another very alkaline substance. I'm wondering if the batch you tried hadn't been processed correctly?

    1. Thanks for reading!! You might be right that the batch we have now is "of" somehow. We week for sure compare I them with the second box to check that theory out :)

  4. Dad had these in the fridge when i arrived in CA! We quickly took town the Marinated chalkidikis ones and were informed by The Mother that the five (!:)) other open containers of olives had to go before opening more....
    Loved those so much i wish TJs just sold a big containers of them alone.

    1. I wish they sold them on their own too!!! They did for a short time this summer but only long enough for us to snag one box.