Personal shopper: Olives
A jar of good olives is something worth keeping on standby, writes Katy McGuinness, so that you can put together a platter of antipasti without any fuss - just add some charcuterie
Olives et Al Classic Chilli & Garlic Olives - 9/10 - Independent retailers, 250g, €5.45
Made to a classic Sicilian recipe, this mix of green and kalamata olives comes in extra virgin olive oil that's flavoured with a pleasant but not over-powering combination of chilli and garlic. You could save the oil and use it in a salad dressing, or in cooking, which would go some way towards alleviating the undeniably hefty price. The olives contain no colours, flavourings, preservatives or dyes, and were awarded two gold stars at the Great Taste awards. 187 calories per 100g drained weight; the oil will obviously increase this.
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M&S Nocellara di Castelvetrano Olives - 8/10 - 280g (160g drained), €3.70
Nocellara olives, which come from Castelvetrano in Sicily and are prized for their almost-buttery texture, are very much in vogue these days; you'll find the distinctive green orbs in many smart restaurants. So if you want to show your friends that you know what's what when it comes to food trends, these are the ones to go for. Our testers said that from a flavour point of view, they would prefer if they came in olive oil, rather than brine, but it does help with the calorie count. 155 calories per 100g.
Simply Better La Bella Della Daunia DOP Green Olives - 7/10 - Dunnes Stores, 300g, €4.99
Our testers found these olives from Dunnes Stores' Simply Better range less interesting than either of the other types of olives tested, but that they were perfectly pleasant nonetheless. The DOP designation refers to the specific type of elongated, plum-shaped olive grown in the Puglia region in the south of Italy. It's known for its consistency, delicate flavour and ability to withstand handling and storage. Our testers thought they would be good for cooking as they are easy to pit. 169 calories per 100g drained weight.