Listen, we’re big fans of the humble Irish crisp. The homeliness of the cheese and onion, the vibrant dance across the tongue of salt and vinegar, and the saltiness of the scampi fry. But, sometimes 6 packs of black manhattan are just not going to do the job of keeping you snackily satisfied over a drink. The crisp provides fleeting flavour and momentary satiety. That’s why we’re here to make the case for a whole food that will fill you up more, are still reasonably priced, and give you that salty hit; the humble olive.
Pubs will use fine olive oils in the preparation of their dishes, but it’s not so common for pubs to offer them in their original form in a bowl for you to snack upon. For pubs, they’re easy to store, because they’re pickled they keep a long time, and they’re not very expensive either. For the customer, it’s a reasonably healthy snack that you can munch on without the feeling that you’re over-indulging. They also provide a lovely salty flavour that goes well with most wines and beers.
Of course you first have to like olives for it to be an option and in a country like Ireland, it likely wasn’t until people reached their 20s that the olive was around as an option to eat. The Irish palate took time to come around to something new. Tastes and demands in Ireland’s pubs are ever evolving and changing, so it may well be the case that the olive is yet to have its day in the limelight here.
We do tend to think of olives as the kind of thing you’ll get in a cocktail or wine bar, but we feel there’s a case to be made for serving it in a more traditional settinng. You’d be surprised who might accompany their pint of stout with a garlic and thyme pitted Halkidiki!
Here’s a few places where you can get olive bowls as a snack.
The Big Romance
The Big Romance has a nice selection of Mediterranean and Iberian food, including cheese, sardines, and of course, olives. It’s provided by ChewFood.
Cafe en Seine
Cafe en Seine have a very pairing of olives and smoked almonds. An appestising snack that keeps you going.
The Bailey have a selection of marinated mixed olives as a light bite/sharing option. They’ll have a good selection of wines to pair that with.
Mulligan and Haines
Mulligan and Haines have a selection of olives, dips, and sourdough. That’s a tasty combo.