Has anyone heard of mousslinas olive (spelling)? Used to be a Jewish deli staple

Black, somewhat wrinkled, salty, soft and meaty inside



Hollyj May 14, 2023
I just found something about these olives that we all remember. It seems Barney Greengrass in NY has them. Here’s the link:

Sandy June 15, 2023
In Los Angeles, Canters Deli sells them also the Bagel Broker serves them with all their sandwiches. I'm sure you could call either shop and find out where to buy them. They definitely are a dark purple ish, black meaty olive with a tang. Love 'em.
Chana May 9, 2023
I’ve been trying to find out more about them for years. My grandfather, who was born in Romania, made his own and called them something like miselinis. But his were small, black, hard, very wrinkly leather-like flesh and bitter. He didn’t want us to try them. Said they were an acquired taste, and indeed they were. Made his own because he said the store bought ones, which came in cans, weren’t made right. Leads appreciated on origins.
appel May 3, 2023
Thanks a million for this post. I, too, am Jewish and grew up in Minneapolis. My grandmother came from Romania. My mother loved these olives and we ate them often. She called them muslinas; they are the best olives.
Hollyj May 14, 2023
Now I’m wondering if we knew each other. I’m 74 and lived on Zenith Ave South. Near Lake Calhoun.
carole June 18, 2023
appel, OMG I grew up in MPLS and both my Jewish grandparents came from Romania, My mother was not a fan, but my father loved them. We got them from a deli on Lake Street. Are we related??????? I hope you see this and answer. Amazing what you find when looking for muslinas. carole
Hollyj June 18, 2023
Carol, here is my email, if you’d like to contact me directly. Maybe we have some relatives/friends in common!
[email protected]
Hollyj June 18, 2023
If you’d like to contact me directly, my email is [email protected]
We may have some shared connections!
Nursegrazi March 3, 2023
As a kid, my father and mother referred to these Greek olives as maslinas. We also had Kachkaval (or kasseri) cheese. We have a fruit stand that still sells these. They bring back memories.
Hollyj July 18, 2022
Absolutely! My Jewish grandfather had several Greek friends, back in Minneapolis where I grew up. He often bring home these olives in little white takeout containers and called them mouslinnas. He even knew some Greek phrases. Thanks for reminding me of this memory!
robinb June 12, 2022
I remember "maslinas" olives at the deli, from a time before kalamatas dominated the market for brine-cured black olives. (Maslina, it turns out, is the Serbo-Croatian word for olive.) The taste was similar but they were softer and meatier, as you say, as well as larger, rounder, and paler overall -- more brown than black. I think the closest item available commercially today would be "royal" greek black olives, or some importers like Krinos sell a brine-cured Greek black olive that is not specifically kalamata and looks about the same as the long-ago deli variety (browner, bigger, rounder).
Nursegrazi March 3, 2023
They were the best. I can still get them in the Denver area.
AntoniaJames August 31, 2021
Only here on the Hotline could you get the great ideas of Nancy and drbabs to answer this interesting question on a topic unfamiliar to many of us . . . . . (now if I could just find some of those olives!!).

From your description, SNCOHEN, those sound like cured black olives. I've seen them in every Whole Foods Market olive bar from which I've shopped, as well as in good Italian delis.

I did a quick search including as a term "Joan Nathan," who is an expert on Jewish foods and cooking; I found that she has a tempting biscuit recipe, https://forward.com/food/459902/buttery-olive-biscuits-scourtins/ which calls for cured black Picholine or Moroccan black olives. I might start there . . .

[email protected] August 31, 2021
Thanks to drbabs and Nancy for their responses. I’ll check out the follow-ups suggested.
Nancy August 31, 2021
Haven't heard of or seen these.
In addition to drbabs suggestions, here are a few sources who may know more:
David Sax, journalist who wrote the book, Save the Deli, and has done extensive travel and research to back up the book.
List of "20 stellar delis around NYC" by eater.
drbabs August 30, 2021
I haven’t. (I’m Jewish but I grew up in New Orleans so I’m not familiar with Jewish deli staples.) From your description it sounds like they were dry salt cured https://www.thespruceeats.com/dry-salt-cured-olives-1327914

Here’s a deep dive into olives that I hope is helpful. https://www.seriouseats.com/guide-to-olive-varieties
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