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Archive for August 13th, 2020

Nearly 50% of olive oils in the world are produced in Spain, with 25% of the entire olive oil growing areas and over 260 endemic varieties. Almost 50% of the production is exported, which means that 1 of each 2 bottles in the world contain Spanish olive oil. Harvesting season will start in autumn, which gives us the perfect excuse to invite you to come to Spain and discover the leading production regions, visit olive oil mills and experience a gastronomical tasting.

Source: Turismo Provincia de Jaén

Designation of Origin & the importance of varieties

Denominaciones de Origin (DO)

Denominación de Origen (Designation of Origin) is a seal a seal that recognizes extra-virgin olive oils produced in a specific area with particular olive varieties and under very strict production and quality standards.  There are 29 DO in Spain, with Andalusia and Catalonia leading the ranking. In Andalusia, Jaén region gathers 20% of DOs.

Varieties

More than 200 varieties of olives are grown in Spain, each one with its own unique flavours and aromas: Picual is the most extended variety in the world and its name refers to the fruit’s pointed tip shape; Picudo, one of the great Andalusian varieties, with significant presence in the provinces of Córdoba, Granada, Málaga and Jaén; Arbequina, characteristic of Catalonia (Tarragona and Lleida) and Alto Aragon, although its growth has spread to practically the entire country, and we could continue with the 26 sorts that complete the DO list.

Source: Olive Oils of Spain

Olive oil, the liquid gold, a treasure dating back to Ancient Greece

Olive oils had a leading role in the economy of Ancient Greece, who began to produce and sell throughout the Mediterranean.

“The liquid gold”, as the Ancient Greeks referred to it, was introduced in Spain by the Phoenicians for 3000 years ago but it was the Romans who spread the oil groves across their colonies. As a result of its expansion into the Iberian peninsula, olive oils produced in Spain became most appreciated throughout the Roman Empire and Spanish olive groves fed the commerce throughout the same.

Spanish olive oil production regions

Large extensions of olive trees can be found in 34 regions across Spain. Among them, one area outstands above the others, Jaén, known as the “world’s capital of olive oil”.

andalucia – Jaén

The Andalucian region occupies the southern third of the peninsula, and it produces approximately 75% of the total olive oil produced in Spain.
With a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers, winters with mild temperatures, and irregular precipitation, throughout the year many areas of Andalucia enjoy over three thousand hours of sunlight.
The production of olive oil is concentrated primarily in the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba. It is interesting to note that the province of Jaén produces more olive oil than all of Greece, another large producer of olive oil in the world.
The types of olives cultivated in Andalucia for the production of oil are: Picual, Hojiblanca, Lechín, Verdial and Picudo.

This beautiful area of Spain is the perfect place to combine gastronomy & cultural heritage. Only 1 hour from Granada, you can enjoy olive oil routes, visits to “almazaras” (mills where olives are crushed), tasting & gastronomy experiences, while you let yourself be charmed by two cities full of history, Úbeda and Baeza, World Heritage Sites awarded by the UNESCO. These 2 small towns retain a 500-year old charm, with churches, palaces and museums, in an urban setting surrounded by a landscape of olive groves.

Andalucia – Córdoba

The province of Córdoba, is home to four different DO: “Bae­na”, “Priego de Córdoba”, “Montoro Adamuz” and “Aceites de Lucena”. In numerous villages it is possible to organize virgin olive oil tasting sessions and gui­ded visits. A must is Hornachuelos Nature Reserve, home to more than 100,000 ha. of oil groves.

Combine oleotourism and cultural heritage. Visit oil mills and small villages with ancient production history and take the chance to discover the fantastic heritage Córdoba city offers, with the impressive Mosque to its historic charming old town plenty of beautiful palaces and famous “patios”.

Castilla La Mancha

The Castilla – La Mancha region is located in the center of the peninsula, to the south of Madrid. This region produces about 14% of the total olive oil produced in Spain. With 4 designations of origin, the production of olive oil extends to the southeast of the region, concentrating in the provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real.

The variety of olive that is cultivated in this community for the production of oil is Cornicabra, although in the southern region bordering Andalucia there are small areas that cultivate the variety known as Picual.

The historic city of Toledo may be the best known area of this region but, not only this UNESCO site is attractive. When we speak olive oil, the DO Montes de Toledo is a must. Its history with production goes back to Phoenician and Greek colonisations, that brought Cornicabra variety, which results in a production of an olive oil with remarkable health properties within cell aging and heart diseases.

Visit Mora and enjoy the “Fiesta del Olivo” in Mora, declared of National Tourist Interest, or the Virgin-Extra Olive Oil Fair. In this town, you will also be able to visit the Museo del Aceite, which keeps a collection of pieces to transmit the culture they witnessed, through the history and different periods, the olive tree, the olive and the olive oil; its uses, the farming olive elements and the machines to obtain it; the contrast of a 19th century oil mill with the 20th century ones. It Is structured divided in three rooms: container room (strainers, jugs, oil bottles), weights and measure room (weighting scales, steelyards and measure traditional system) and rural culture room (it shows the farmhouse with traditional jobs of the rural environment). We will end the visit with the tasting we all are waiting for: taste different varieties, visita an almazara and enjoy a walk through the olive tree fields.

Source: Turismo de Castilla-La Mancha

Catalonia

The Catalonian Community occupies the northeast corner of the peninsula and produces approximately 4% of the total olive oil produced in Spain. It is the second region in number of DO, with 5 designations, and production extends throughout the western region, bordering Aragón. The types of olives cultivated in Catalonia for the production of oil are Fraga, Empeltre and Arbequina.

Places not to be missed are: the olive oil eco-museum in Pobla de Cèrvoles; Castelldans olive oil museum; Uldecona’s greatest collection of thousand-year-old olive trees in the world and the olive oil theme parl in les Borges Blanques. A must not to be missed when speaking about gastronomy in this region is its famous pà amb tomàquet (sliced bread rubbed with tomato and topped with virgin olive oil as its best).

Olive oil products benefits go far beyond gastronomy. Did you know that olive oil is a great product for moisturising and exfoliating the skin? For years it has been applied as part of beauty treatments in various Catalan spas. What are you waiting for to live the olive oil experience?

Source: Agència Catalana de Turisme

Olive oil and gastronomy

Many are the travellers who when asked about “the best of Spain” respond sharply: “the food”. The importance of production of extra virgin olive oil and the boast of production of an excellent product has pushed Spanish gastronomy to a leading place in the world.

A tour to regions we introduced in this post will give you the needed knowledge about the common categories of Spanish olive oil and  you will be be ablre to pick out the one that best suits your needs.

With a strong flavour, extra virgin olive oil is the best choice to dress a salad or other cold dishes and it is the oil you will most find topping a cold tapa. It’s the best Spanish olive oil for preparing traditional Mediterranean dishes that are sauteed or pan-seared, too. But you do not want to use extra virgin olive oil to prepare fried dishes. It has a heavier taste and a lower smoke point. Instead, let’s use refined olive oil, the most basic, with a lighter taste and a higher smoke point that better withstands heat. Also, make sure to use the oil and not keep the bottle open for too long. Once opened, the olive oil should be used within a few months.

Source: Spain.info

 

Source: Mundo Agrario

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