Spanish Olive Oil

Learn Important tips on which Spanish olive oil to buy....


Olive oil is a main staple of Spanish Cooking. It is believed that it was the Phoenicians who expanded the cultivation of the olive tree through the Greek Islands and into the Spanish coasts more than 3,000 years ago. The Romans further expanded its cultivation and improved upon olive oil production and techniques. The production of olive oil continued to grow during the Moorish occupation. Later olive trees were imported to the New World by Spanish settlers and are now established in many former colonized areas, particularly California and South America.
Olive oil has evolved significantly since it was first used by the Romans for its medicinal benefits to nowadays when oil is utilized by renowned chefs to create extraordinary gourmet dishes.

The production of olive oil extends from Extremadura to Cataluña (Catalonia), through the fields of Andalucia, Murcia Castilla La Mancha, Valencia and Aragon influenced by their variety of climates and microclimates. These geographical conditions and the large number of olive varieties used to produce Spanish olive oils
mean that there are a far wider range of aromas and tastes among Spanish oils than among those of any other olive oil producing nation. Olive oil is not only widely used
in Spanish cuisine but it is worth mentioning that Spain is the world's top producer and seller of quality olive oil.

Not all olive oils are born equal just as wines have their complexities: sensory, aromatic and tasting attributes so do olive oils.  These differences depend on the soil they are grown in and the process used to harvest the olives. Green olives that are
matured and harvested early in the fall make oil that is green and has a sharp taste, while the oil produced later in the harvest has a more golden color and a fruiter and smoother taste.

The following are the more common grades of Spanish olive oil you will find in your own supermarket:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - the acidity is less or equal to 1°. It’s considered the finest and fruitiest of the olive oils and is therefore also the most expensive. The oil is directly extracted from the olive fruit by grinding the olives in a process called "cold press" which keeps the oil from losing its flavor.
Virgin Olive Oil - It is also a first-press oil and it acidity does not go above 2°. This oil is slightly lower quality than the Extra Virgin Oil.
Olive Oil - also known as pure olive oil, it is unrefined olive oil blended with extra virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil to strip away the undesirable taste and aroma. This is very much a standard in the marketplace as it is also the least expensive.

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