Last week (25th July 2013) a new shop opened in Granada, Spain. Las Aceiterías. Seeing this shiny new store got me thinking about Spanish Olive Oil.
This new addition is right in the city centre of Granada. They specialise in Spanish Olive Oil and many other related products. In the shop itself you can find lots of High Quality Olive Oil from many regions of Spain. They stock specialist recipe books, jars of green olives and a range of cosmetics made from olive oil. This opening event showcased the different Olive oil producers that the store holds. We were able to taste many types of Extra Virgin Olive oils.
There was also the chance to speak to the Olive farmers themselves. You are probably wondering what I would discuss with an olive farmer…. Well I actually pick olives every now and again in Lecrin Valley ; ) Here´s a post of a day olive picking from last season. I am also really keen to promote local business. (wherever you are in the world) As Andalusia is my corner of the world, small family businesses really interest me. So I enjoyed talking to these small producers.
They are really working hard to promote great quality products and support their family run businesses. Some of these families have been running Olive farms for generations. Now the large supermarket chains make it increasingly difficult for them to get into the markets. I think it´s important to support them. At the event we were reminded us that Extra Virgin Olive oil should only be served cold.
For drizzling on bread or enhancing delicious salads. This oil doesn´t react well to heat. It is made from the very first pressing of the olives and the higher temperature affects the flavour of Extra Virgin Olive oil. As it is more expensive than Virgin Olive Oil, it´s best to use Virgin Olive Oil, best suited for cooking, frying and baking, rather than Extra Virgin.
As I looked around the newly installed shelves I could see that all the bottles were dark brown or black glass. The dark coloured bottles protect the oil from the light. It´s also recommendable to use the oil within a year of it being bottled to get the most goodness from the oil.
You have probably heard or read about all the health benefits of using Extra Virgen olive oil. Packed with Antioxidants and said to help lower cholesterol. Olive oil even has good fats which are heart-healthy and non saturated . So Spanish Olive Oil really can be great to use. (Saying that it is a fat and you still have to use in moderation of course…)
Did you know that the Best oils in the World are Spanish?
According to the recently published ranking the first TEN oils in the world are Spanish. Most of them are from Andalusia region. Córdoba and Jaen are known for their excellent quality of olive oil. This beautiful bottle pictured below is from Jaen and the taste of this was very fresh and clean.
Spiritu Santo Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Jaen Spain. This was my favourite of the day. Spain produces 44% of the worlds olive oil (World Olive Oil Production breakdown October 5, 2011.) But it surprised me that Spanish Olive oil is not clearly labelled or more widely promoted in UK Supermarkets. I did notice than in several UK supermarkets the Country of Origin is not on the label of the oil. This means that the oil you are buying could be from Morocco, India, or even a mix of oils from different places.
I recently saw in the UK press this article about saving money when buying olive oil. The point is when buying olive oil make sure that if it is for cooking it is Virgen Olive Oil (not Extra) otherwise you may waste money on a more expensive oil and not get the benefit of the taste. If it is for using on bread or salad then purchase Extra Virgen Olive Oil. With Extra Virgen Olive Oil I would buy the best quality possible. For cooking I would buy a Virgen Olive Oil Made in Spain with a reasonable price tag.
I now use my Spanish Olive Oil for almost everything. Sandwiches, toast, salads…. The only thing I need butter for is Fruit Scones!
(please note that this shop is no longer trading. Las Aceiterias closed at the end of 2013)