Spanish olive oil, its cultivation and its processing, which started during the Phoenician era, are closely tied to the history of Spain It is thought that the Phoenicians spread olive tree cultivation through the Greek Islands and then brought them to the Spanish coasts more than 3,000 years ago. Olive oil history has gone across a very long way since the times when the Romans used it for the benefit of olive oils as a medicinal product until nowadays, when recipe olive oil is used by prestigious chefs to prepare gourmet dishes and when it is analyzed in the laboratories of reputed scientists who tell us the reasons for its outstanding attributes about olive oil health benefit.
Olive oil production is extended from Extremadura to Catalonia, drawing a route which leads us through the fields of Andalusia, Murcia, Castilla la Mancha, Valencia and Aragon, giving the origin denominations to olive oil. The spanish olive oil orchards that design the landscape of each area depend on the history of the specific place and on the variety of olive that has adapted better to the land conditions, climate and necessities of the farmer. Olive oil consumption is a fundamental part of Mediterranean and Spanish diets, and what’s more: Spain is the world's leading producer and seller of quality olive oil.
Buy olive oil is not only a matter of better taste in meals, tradition, oleoculture, oleoturism or different usages which industry has known to make in cosmetic products.
Olive oil health benefit:
Extra virgin olive oil has got numerous properties, which are highly beneficial to our health; this is why the increasing sale of olive oil bottle has promoted a considerable increment in olive cultivation and production, although oil prices are still higher than the price of other kinds of oil. The benefit of olive oil consumption stimulates bone growth and the absorption of calcium, is highly beneficial to our cardiovascular system, and helps prevent skin aging, cancer and diabetes. Extra virgin olive oil helps the bad cholesterol levels go down without affecting the good cholesterol. Also it is used for the cosmetic industry as, olive oil for skin care or hair treatment shampoo, olive oil soap, etc.
Not all kinds of olive oils are the same; as well as wines, they have very complex sensory, aromatic and tasting attributes. These differences in olive oils depend on the variety of olives, the land where they are grown and the processing. Also, there is flavored olive oil, herbal olive oil or spicy olive oil and others. The most experienced gourmets will know how to appreciate all the nuances of a good olive oil. The extraordinary culinary magnificence of cooking olive oil not only lies in totally changing the appearance, aroma and taste of a dish.
Classification of Olive Oil (in increasing order of best quality):
Olive Pomace Oil. It is obtained from the remains of the olives after having extracted extra virgin olive oil. It is then blended with virgin and refined olive oils. Maximum acidity: 0.5º.
Olive Oil. It is the blend of virgin olive oils and refined olive oils. Refined olive oil is obtained by a depuration process of low quality olive oil. Maximum acidity: 1.5º.
Virgin Olive Oil. This oil is obtained using solely mechanical means which do not alter the oil in any way and which has not undergone any chemical treatment. Maximum acidity: 2º.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is virgin olive oil with a maximum acidity of 0.8º.
Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil. This kind of olive oil is intended to fulfil the demands of all those consumers who look for to buy the best products in deli shops. The price of organic olive oil is considerably higher, but we are talking about a gourmet olive oil, as this type of extra virgin olive oil has been produced by cultivating olive trees without using chemical products, what provides it with even better properties.
In Spain there are 32 protected designations of origin (DOP) of extra virgin olive oil that sold more than 2,000 brands and 1,300 packaging being Jaen province with higher production.
United States the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the agency responsible for the classification of olive oil because they are not members of the IOOC. This standings based on the parameters of acidity, absence of defects, smell and taste, ranging from grades A, B, C and D.