Updated: Jul 2
Spain is a country that offers its visitors great food and the best wine in the world. It is commonly known that Spain is the world's largest exporter of olive oil and other products derived from olives. Today we will share how Spanish olive oil is produced and why it is considered one of the best olive oils in the world.
Spain Is the Biggest Producer of Olive Oil
One out of every two bottles of olive oil you find on the market contains Spanish Olive Oil. Spain is home to the largest man-made forest in the world, giving rise to great quantities of olive trees. In addition, Spain also produces more organic extra virgin olive oil than any other country.
Spanish olive oil has a long history. In fact, the Phoenicians are credited with introducing the first olive trees to Spain around 3,000 years ago. The Romans were another group of enthusiastic Mediterranean dieters who took advantage of Spain’s fertile soil and warm climate by producing garum and bulk wine in addition to growing the most olives in their empire.
For centuries, oil was one of Spain's most valuable exports. The olive oil was so prized, that a Roman police force was formed to stop the production of counterfeit olive oil.
Traditional Spanish olives are harvested and taken straight to the mill for pressing. They are pressed very slowly to ensure only the best oil is produced, which means less oil per olive (but a higher level of quality). This traditional method is becoming rare in today's market and is only done by a handful of small producers.
How Spanish Olive Oil is Different
Spanish olive oil is a versatile ingredient that can enhance many dishes. What makes Spanish olive oil so different? It's definitely the taste. Spanish olive oils tend to be nutty, sweet, and fruity. It can even have a peppery flavor and is less herbal than other oils. This makes it ideal for salads, dressings, and snacks.
Spanish olive oil is generally lighter and greener than many of its counterparts from other countries. However, regional variations exist, as well. Olive oil from Andalucía often has a different flavor profile than olive oil produced further north in Catalonia. Unfiltered olive oils also can have a different taste than refined and filtered ones.
Spain has the perfect climate for growing olives. It's sunny most of the year and the warm temperature helps the olive grow big and green. However, some of Spain experiences more pronounced seasonal changes and consequently, Spanish olive oil is usually yellower in color than other oils.
Spanish olive oil dominates the international industry. Spanish olive oils are among the best in the world, if not the best. Spanish EVOOs regularly receive awards from chefs and experts from across the globe. You can be assured that when you buy Spanish oil you are getting quality.
For the most part, olive oil is healthy, no matter its origin. As long as it's pure, it has many health benefits and should be in every pantry. Always make sure to read the labels and find that there is a DOP (protected designation of origin) on the back of the bottle.