Tapenade is an olive paste or spread most associated with Provence, an area in the south of French, though it is popular in other Mediterranean countries such as Spain.
You can use it as a dip for vegetables, mix some into pasta, salad dressings, spread on breads, etc.
It is usually made by puréeing black olives, garlic, olive oil, capers and anchovies. Some purists maintain, however, that it can only contain olives, capers and oil — so it is easy to make a vegetarian version without the anchovies, and in doing so maintain that you are making the “authoritative” version.
There are now recipes for Tapenade made with green olives instead of black. Unless specified though, Tapenade generally indicates black olives.
A similar paste made in Provence is called “Anchoyade.”
Literature & Lore
In Provence, the French people there have their own dialect for many words, and their word for caper is “tapeno”, thus Tapenade.