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Recipe for
Olivarum conditurae
(Olive and Celery Paté)

by Columella (De Re Rustica)

Olivarum Conditurae, also called Epityrum, was originally a Greek dip, which was adopted by the Romans. There are two recipes that survive, quoted in Cato (De Agricultura 119), and Columella (De Re Rustica 12:49:5 and 12:49:9), as well as mentioned as a common dip in Sicily by Varro (De Lingua Latina 7:86). The word Epityrum means "Over Cheese", because the Greeks and the Romans ate this dip or paste together with cheese. This is a great dip to serve during the Passover Seder as an authentic dip to dip Matza (Unleavened Bread) and Maror (Bitter Herbs) into. The specific recipe below for is based on Columella (12:49:5).

Original recipe: At haec oliva per se parum iucunda est, sed ad eas condituras, quae lautioribus mensis adhibentur, idonea maxime est: nam cum res exegit, de amphora promitur et contusa recipit quamcumque volueris condituram. Plerumque tamen sectivum porrum et rutam cum apio tenero et mentam minute concidunt et contusis olivis miscent[ur], deinde exiguum aceti piperati et plusculum mellis aut mulsi adiciunt oleumque viride inrorant[ur]. Atque ita fasciculo apii viridis contegitur.

Translation: Yet most people finely chop leeks, rue and mint, together with young celery, and mix these with crushed olives. Then add a little peppered vinegar and a little more honey or honeyed wine, drizzle with green olive oil and so cover with a bunch of green celery.


  • 1 leek
  • A sprig of rue
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 60 ml/2floz b
  • 150g/5 oz whole green olives
  • Pepper


  • Trim, wash and slice the leek. and parboil for 5 minutes.
  • Put all the ingredients without the olives in a blender and blend until a smooth paste.
  • Stone and then chop the olivesadd to the mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and store in the fridge until needed.
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