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Cuillere de tapenade.jpg
Type Spread
Course Hors d'œuvre
Place of origin France
Region or state Provence
Main ingredients Olives, capers, olive oil
Cookbook: Tapenade  Media: Tapenade

Tapenade (French pronunciation: ​[tapəˈnad], Occitan: tapenada [tapeˈnadɔ]) is a Provençal[1] dish consisting of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, 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, but sometimes it is 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 Occitan word tapenade. One of the earliest known tapenade recipe, Olivarum conditurae, appears in Columella's De re Rustica, written in the first century AD.[3][4] Cato the Elder (234–149 B.C.E.) includes a recipe for Epityrum, an olive spread very like a tapenade, in chapter 119 of his "On Agriculture."

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.[citation needed]


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 flavoured differently in varying regions with other ingredients such as garlic, herbs, anchovies, lemon juice or brandy.


Tapenade can be used as part of an appetizer served as a topping on crackers, crusty bread or crudités. It can also be used as a condiment. Tapenade is also used in preparing 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.