i'm always trying new snacks at the Asian groceries, and this one was so strange we couldn't resist. It's difficult to tell exactly what the Chinese manufacturers meant by 'orthodox' olives, but we're guessing they are the black ones, because there was also a light green variety which must be UNorthodox or reform, since no specification is made.
The neat thing about this item is that the makers began with a dubious concept - a sort of candied ripe olive - and meticulously followed through until an authentically bizarre, but somehow tasty, result was achieved. The Fuzhou Dashijie Olive website shows a selection of preserved fruits and drinks, including several types of plums and olives.
The ingredients: fresh olive, sugar, salt, licorice root, fennel, clove, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and radish red. The presence of licorice and fennel with a strong olive flavor makes sense, it's a classic flavor combo found in Spanish tortas de aceite. Individually wrapped, the 'olives' have a slightly dry and wrinkled skin and an actual pit in the center, for authenticity. As you can see from the opened one in the second picture, even when unwrapped and split they look like the real thing, individually wrapped and measuring about an inch in length. The flavor is strongly of olives, but very sweet, with the licorice notes both kicking the sweetness up a notch, and smoothing it into a more refined herbal flavor, more like a sweet than a candy. The texture is as if you took a very large, lightly brined ripe olive and left it out in a dry room for several hours, as it moves toward leathery. If you really love olives, this is well worth a try at $3.69 for a big bag of more than a dozen olives. i plan to check out the green olive version, and try seeking out this brand of preserved plum as well.