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Cuillere de tapenade.jpg
CourseHors d'œuvre
Place of originFrance
Region or stateProvence
Main ingredientsOlives, capers, olive oil

Tapenade (French pronunciation: ​[tapəˈnad]; Occitan: tapenada [tapeˈnadɔ]) is a Provençal[1] name for a 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 generally is eaten as an hors d'œuvre spread on bread, but sometimes it is used to stuff poultry for a main course.

History of similar dishes[edit]

Tapenade in a mortar

Olive-based dishes with anchovies or vinegar are ubiquitous in Italian cuisine, documented in ancient Roman cookbooks dating back more than a thousand years before the appearance of the Occitan word tapenade. One of the earliest known of such Italian recipes, Olivarum conditurae, appears in Columella's De re Rustica written in the first century AD.[3][4] Cato the Elder (234–149 B.C.) also includes a recipe for epityrum, an olive spread very much like a tapenade, in chapter 119 of his On Agriculture. The use of capers is the hallmark of recipes for tapenade.

Sometimes tapenade is 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 also does not contain capers, but does contain cauliflower, carrots, and celery.[citation needed]


Base ingredients of tapenade are olives and capers; the olives (most commonly black olive) and capers are chopped finely, crushed, or blended. Then olive oil is added gradually until the mixture becomes a paste. In various regions tapenade often is flavoured differently, with other ingredients such as garlic, herbs, anchovies, lemon juice, or brandy.


Tapenade may be used as part of an appetizer served as a topping on crusty bread or crudités, it may be used as a condiment, as well. Tapenade also is 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.