Olive Oil From Spain
Spain is the first olive oil producing country in the world.
Olive Oil From Spain:
- more than 300 million olive trees
- 2 million hectares, the cultivated surface area is more than 25% of the world’s olive growing surface area.
- the average annual production of Spanish olive oil has exceeded one million tons.
While domestic consumption is not too strong, olive oil is captivating foreign consumers and the consumption keeps growing on an upwards slope.
Olive Oil from Spain (2008/2009) 1,236 million tons of oil were produced.
Italy with 500 tons and Greece with 360.
Other producing countries in the Mediterranean basin are Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco or Algeria and our neighbor Portugal.
The oil sector accounts for 5% of the Spanish agro-food companies and 9% of agro-food exports. Some 1,570 companies employ 8,000 people, mainly in the harvesting sector.
The main consumer countries of Spanish olive oil are Italy, France, USA and UK. Other countries such as Mexico and China have a great potential as consumers and emerging markets.
Andalusia is the backbone of the Spanish olive oil production, also known as the “green gold” , its identity par excellence. 85% of Spanish oil is produced in Andalusia. The autonomous community of Andalusia produces 32% of global olive oil and olive groves account for 30% of its agricultural land.
Castilla-La Mancha (6.60%), Extremadura (2.70%), Catalonia (2.20%) and Aragon (1%).
Olive oil and Spanish culture:
Olive oil has been deeply rooted in our food culture for thousands of years.
- the Phoenicians who imposed their culture on the Iberian Peninsula in the eleventh century BC.
- the great expansion and improvement of olive cultivation was due to the Romans.
- Andalusia became the main producing area throughout the empire. After the fall of Rome, the use of olive oil was perpetuated through the centuries until today.
There are many types of olive oil, each using different varieties of olives.
Each has its own unique characteristics, Olive Oil Benefits and oil yield.
The different olive type will also determine its organoleptic properties (flavor and aroma).
- the most common olive oil is the Picual or Martene, a native of Jaen, representing 50% of Spanish production and 20% of world production. It produces a greenish oil.
- Hojiblanca and Picuda, which serve as raw material for the oil produced in Cordoba and Malaga.
- the Arbequina grown in Catalonia, the Empeltre typical of Bajo Aragon.
- the Cornicabra, a common variety in Castilla-la Mancha and Extremadura.
Olive oil in Andalusia
- the province of Jaen is also known as the “world’s capital of olive oil”, because it is the largest producer of this liquid gold and has the largest olive trees concentration. Olive production takes place in Martos, Beas de Segura, Vilches, Úbeda, Villacarrillo, Baeza, Baena and Villanueva del Arzobispo (the latter in Córdoba).
- The city of Martos deserves a special mention. It is well-known as the “olive oil cradle” and was labeled as the “world’s leading producer of olive oil “, though at present it has been replace by Villacarrillo.
Olive oil is closely associated to the Andalusia culture. The majority of the olive oil industry worldwide is located in the region of Andalusia.
Spanish oil protected designation of origin (PDO)
In order to guarantee the quality of Spanish olive oil, there are various denominations of origin, although they vary depending on the type of olives from which they are extracted.
In Spain there are 32 Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) for virgin and extra virgin oil, each of which is ruled by its own statutes in order to protect oil production and set the standards of cultivation, collection, processing, bottling and labelling.
All virgin and extra virgin oil PDO (protected designations of origin) are committed to produce the best quality through rigorous quality controls. These controls are established mostly due to cases of corruption and adulteration which exist in the current market.
The olive varieties which are mostly produced and distributed are: Picual, Cornicabra, Arbequina, Manzanilla, Hojiblanca, Lechin, Blanquette, Empeltre, Picudo, Farga, Villalonga and others. They make a total of more than 500 according to the International Olive Council catalog award in Spain.
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO):
- La Alcarria
- Campo de Montiel
- Campo de Calatrava
- La Rioja
- Terra Alta
- Bajo Aragon
- Montes Alcaraz
- Montsiá Baix Ebre
- Campinas de Jaén
- Sierra Sur Jaen
- Les Garrigues
- Montes de Granada
- Montes de Toledo Oil
- Poniente de Granada
- Priego de Córdoba
- Sierra de Cádiz
- Sierra de Cazorla
- Sierra de Segura
- Sierra Mágina