A Brief History of Olive Oil in Spain
Spain is one of the world’s largest producers of olive oil, and the history of olive oil production in the country dates back centuries. Today, Spanish olive oil is prized for its high quality and unique flavor, and it is used in a variety of dishes both inside and outside of Spain. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the history of olive oil production in Spain, as well as some of the different types of olive oil that are produced in the country.
Olive Oil Production in Spain
Olive oil production in Spain dates back to at least the 8th century BCE, when the Phoenicians began planting olive trees in what is now Andalusia. Olive oil quickly became an important part of Spanish culture and economy, and by the 16th century, Spain was exporting olive oil to other parts of Europe.
Today, Spain is the world’s third-largest producer of olive oil, behind Italy and Greece. The vast majority of Spanish olive oil is produced in Andalusia and Valencian Community, where the climate is ideal for olive trees.
Types of Spanish Olive Oil
There are two main types of Spanish olive oil: virgin and extra-virgin. Virgin olive oil is made from the first cold pressing of olives and has a acidity level below 2%. Extra-virgin olive oil is made from the first cold pressing of olives that have been carefully selected for their high quality, and it has an acidity level below 0.8%
Spanish olive oils are also classified by their flavor profile. Fruity olive oils have a strong flavor with notes of green apples or other fruits. These types of olive oils are typically made from early-harvest olives. Mature olive oils have a more mellow flavor and are usually made from olives that have been allowed to ripen longer on the tree. Finally, intense or robust olive oils have a strong flavor that can be slightly bitter or spicy. These types are made from late-harvest olives that have been pressed multiple times.
Varieties of olive trees
The following is a list of the different varieties of olive trees that are used to produce olive oil. Each type of olive tree has its own unique characteristics that affect the taste, color, and texture of the olive oil produced from it.
Arbequina Olive Tree
The Arbequina olive tree is native to Spain and produces small, dark green olives. The oil from these olives is fruity and has a light, delicate flavor. It is also one of the most disease-resistant olive trees.
Cornicabra olive tree
This type of olive tree stands out for its resistance to cold, drought and limestone soils. This is why it is mainly found in the centre of the peninsula.
Its oil is normally used for stewing and its oil has a high quantity of oleic acid, which makes it very stable. It is a traditional and rustic variety, but of great interest.
Blanqueta olive tree
It is a variety of olive tree located in the Valencian Community.
It is resistant to cold, but not enough to withstand frost. Like the cornicabra, it is highly resistant to drought and limestone. The productivity of this variety is very high and quite regular.
Picual Olive Tree
The Picual olive tree is native to Spain and produces large, dark green olives. The oil from these olives is very flavorful and has a strong, pungent aroma. It is also one of the most disease-resistant olive trees.
Alfafarenca olive tree
Variety of olive that takes its name from the town of Alfafara in Alicante. In the Spanish Levante region it is also known as alfafarenca. In addition to its province of origin, it is grown in Valencia and Albacete. This variety produces virgin olive oils in which bitterness and spiciness are perfectly balanced. On the nose, it stands out for its banana and ripe tomato notes.
This is undoubtedly one of the most famous olive varieties in the world. The gordal sevillana is mainly used in the production of table olives, where it stands out for its large size, which differentiates it from the rest of the varieties. It is grown mainly in Seville, although it has successfully spread to other areas of the country. It is not usually used for oil production as its fat yield is very low.
It is the queen variety of the Valencian Community, as it can be found both in the province of Valencia and in Alicante. In the Spanish Levante region it is also known by the name of manzanilla. It produces intensely fruity extra virgin olive oils, with a light spiciness and bitterness. It is also notable for its notes of freshly cut grass, almonds and apples.
Whether you’re looking for a fruity extra-virgin olive oil to use in salads or a robust virgin olive oil for cooking, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for among the many types of Spanish olive oils on the market today.
We produce high quality olive oils that are sure to satisfy any taste preference. So grab a bottle and start cooking with the flavours of Spain today.
Don’t forget to check the “Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP)” seal on your bottle, which guarantees that the olive oil is produced in a specific region of Spain and meets high production standards. Happy cooking!
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