Difference Between Olive Tapenade & Olive Bruschetta

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Tapenade and bruschetta both contain olives, but there the similarity ends.

Aside from both containing olive oil and olives, olive tapenade and olive bruschetta are two very different, though complementary, appetizers. Olives are an important part of the Mediterranean diet and pressed olives, which are made into various types of olive oil, are used in practically all cooking, either as part of the ingredients, or to cook in.


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Olive tapenade originates from Provence in France and is used as a paste to spread on toasted bread, or as a stuffing in various recipes. A traditional tapenade recipe contains finely chopped black olives, capers, anchovies and of course, virgin olive oil. The word "tapenade" is derived from the Provencal word for capers, "tapeneï," according to Mediterranean food expert Clifford A. Wright, though olives are the primary ingredient. Today tapenade is widely available and can be made from green olives or contain a variety of different ingredients such as garlic, pine nuts, tomatoes and other herbs and spices.



Bruschetta is generally served as a snack or appetizer and originated from central Italy. In its simplest form it is a slice of Italian bread, made using olive oil which is toasted, rubbed with garlic and then virgin olive oil is drizzled over the top. However, the toppings for bruschetta can be almost endless with the most popular being chopped Italian tomatoes and basil, prosciutto ham or toasted mozzarella cheese.


Olive Tapenade with Bruschetta

Despite olive tapenade and olive bruschetta originating in two different countries, the ingredients make them ideal partners. For example, olive tapenade is an appropriate topping spread on toasted bruschetta; combining to form olive brushetta -- excellent as canapes at a party, or a gathering of friends and family.


Olive Brushetta and Variations

A true olive bruschetta can be made using sliced or finely chopped green or black olives mixed into the dough. This strengthens the olive flavor and gives a distinct "bite" to the bread. The mix can also contain garlic to add even more flavor. Tapenade, made using black olives, produces a rich flavor and dark color while green olives produce a lighter more subtle flavor. Use chopped tomatoes in the recipe and you get a vivid red tapenade.