Tapenade - you have probably heard the word quite a few times, but do you actually know what it means? Sure, we all have a vague idea of it resembling a paste and looking a lot like pates and rillettes, but exactly what is tapenade? How is it made? Where did it come from? Let’s explore, shall we?
Tapenade is a French name derived from the word tapenos - or capers - and it’s mainly used to refer to a Provencal olive-based spread… Hm… That does not quite match up now, does it? Sure, capers are usually an integral ingredient for tapenades, but why name a dish so heavily centered around olives for something else? Who knows - when it comes to naming things, people can be weird, how else do you explain the difference between Kansas and Arkansas?!
Considering the fact that the main ingredient for tapenade is olive, it doesn’t come as a surprise that these spreads are predominantly connected to Mediterranean cuisine - especially to France and Italy, both of which have their slightly different takes on this classic. Tapenade-like spreads have been mentioned in Roman cookbooks dating as far back as 234 BC - so we can safely say that the history behind olive pate is quite significant!