Olives that are worth their salt

There's a right way and a wrong way to do olives. The wrong way is by lye-curing, the cheap, fast way they're canned for mass consumption -- at a loss of true flavor. The right way is by brine-curing, which takes 30 to 100 days and retains each olive's distinctive flavor.

At Whole Foods' olive bar (1989 Aloma Ave., Winter Park; (407-673-8788), the briney delights will set you back $7.99 per pound, but they're worth it. Among the spread, there are the standard kalamatas, but the spicy pitted Greek olives with red chili peppers really stand out. Huge, green olives -- most from the Hakidiki Peninsula -- are stuffed with almonds, garlic, roasted red peppers or creamy feta cheese.

From France, the pitted black olives with Provencal herbs and garlic are a robust and salty treat. And a combo of green, black and pink olives are used in the spicy "Mexican" mix, with baby corn and pimentos in Harissa sauce.