Kalamata olives are a large breed of black olives. They get their black color because they are allowed to completely vine ripen before being picked and brined, contrary to green olives, which are picked before they are ripe.
Kalamata olives were originally grown in a town in Greece, not far from the town of Kalamata, from which they took their name sake.
These olives are traditionally packed in olive oil or wine vinegar and are sometimes split in half before they are packaged so the meat of the olives can fully absorb the flavor of the liquids. On most occasions, even if these olives have been split, they are sold with seeds included. So be careful to remove them before serving them with a cheese tray or using them to top a Mediterranean appetizer.
They have the reputation of being the meatiest of the olive varieties available and boast a rich and fruity flavor.