02/06/2014 09:15 am ET Updated Feb 06, 2014

Olives, Ranked In Order From Worst To Best (PHOTOS)

Recently, one of our favorite curmudgeons, Alex Balk, tackled the definitive ranking of olives over on The Awl. Spoiler alert: Balk does see color when it comes to olives and we think that the veritable Benetton ad's worth of olive diversity got lost in the kerfuffle.

Olives can be polarizing. Some of us love them, some of us hate them and there are not many of us in between. As an olive lover, let me just go on record as telling you that there really is no bad olive, but some are better than others. Here, you'll find the definitive ranking of olives, in order from worst to best.

  • 11 Canned Black Olives
    Christian Hacker via Getty Images
    Make no mistake -- I will eat these off my fingers, on a pizza and from a relish plate with gusto. But they're probably the worst of the bunch.
  • 10 Taggiascas/Ligurias
    Roger Dixon via Getty Images
    These soft-fleshed, thin-skinned olives always feel a little overripe.
  • 9 Kalamatas
    Foodcollection RF via Getty Images
    These intensely briny Greek olives are one of the most popular, but let's be honest, sometimes they are way too funky.
  • 8 Cerignolas
    These gigantic, meaty olives are sometimes turned red during the brining process. Let's be real, it weirds me out.
  • 7 Lucques
    chez loulou/Flickr
    These oblong olives are eaten while both green and black. You've definitely eaten them, but you might have forgotten about them.
  • 6 Sevillanos/Sicilians
    Ingolf Pompe via Getty Images
    These monsters are so sturdy that you usually have to crack them to allow other flavors to infuse into them. Approach with a strong jaw and you will be rewarded.
  • 5 Pimento-Stuffed Manzanillas
    Oliver Strewe via Getty Images
    Don't hate.
  • 4 Arbequinas
    Oliver Strewe via Getty Images
    These olives are usually used to make oil, so when you can get them as a table olive, don't hesitate. They are mild, soft and delicious.
  • 3 Niçoises
    Juanmonino via Getty Images
    These teeny tiny, French black olives have more flavor than some olives twice their size.
  • 2 Picholines
    David McGlynn via Getty Images
    Depending upon how these firm, French olives get brined, they are either the mildest, purest expression of an olive, or a tart, juicy olive with loads of complexity. They are amazing. Get you some.
  • 1 Castelvetranos
    Bill Noll via Getty Images
    These meaty, soft-fleshed Italian olives might be the most perfect version of their entire species.

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Olive Recipes
Olive Recipes