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Not to be confused with tamponade.
Cuillere de tapenade.jpg
Type Spread
Course Hors d'œuvre
Place of origin France
Region or state Provence
Main ingredients Olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil
Cookbook:Tapenade  Tapenade

Tapenade (French pronunciation: ​[tapənad], Occitan: tapenada [tapeˈnadɔ]) is a Provençal[1] dish consisting of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil.[2] Its name comes from the Provençal word for capers, tapenas (pronounced [taˈpenɔs]). It is a popular food in the south of France, where it is generally eaten as an hors d'œuvre, spread on bread. Sometimes it is also used to stuff poultry for a main course.


Tapenade in a mortar

Olive-based tapenades with anchovies and/or vinegar are ubiquitous in Italian cuisine and are documented in ancient Roman cookbooks dating back thousands of years before the appearance of the French word tapenade, or indeed the French language itself. The earliest known tapenade recipe, Olivarum conditurae, appears in Columella's De re Rustica, written in the first century AD. [3] [4]

Tapenade is sometimes confused with New Orleans olive salad, a critical component in the New Orleans sandwich the muffaletta. New Orleans olive salad is more properly called a giardiniera; it does not contain capers and does contain cauliflower, carrots and celery.


Tapenade's base ingredient is olive. The olives (most commonly black olive) and capers are finely chopped, crushed, or blended. Olive oil is then added until the mixture becomes a paste. Tapenade is often flavored differently in varying regions with other ingredients such as garlic, herbs, anchovies, lemon juice, or brandy.


Tapenade can be used as an appetizer, served with crackers, crusty bread or crudités. It can also be used as a condiment. Tapenade is also used in preparation of fish dishes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wright, Clifford A. "What is Tapenade?". What is Tapenade?. Clifford A Wright. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Food, BBC. "Tapenade". BBC Food. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Olivarum Conditurae (from Columella's de re Rustica)". Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  4. ^ "De Re Rustica of Columella". Loeb Classical Library edition. 1941. Retrieved 2013-01-20.