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  /  SMH Blog Posts   /  Extra Virgin Olive Oil: a Millennia-old Tradition

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: a Millennia-old Tradition

If there’s one crop that epitomizes the fields of Andalusia, it’s undoubtedly the olive tree. Nearly one and a half million hectares host the roots of this tree, which characterizes the region and has made it the olive oil land par excellence for thousands of years. Nowhere else in the world do olive trees grow in such abundance, nor do they produce as many top-quality extra virgin olive oils as in our territory. It can be said that Andalusia and extra virgin olive oil are inseparably linked.

The olive grove forms a substantial part of the Andalusian landscape, constituting the source of wealth for numerous towns, the basis of their gastronomy, and their traditions. There is an ancient culture surrounding the olive grove. Some olive groves, with many centuries of life, are true witnesses to our history.

Considered as a true Mediterranean forest, the olive grove has an irreplaceable ecological value, which halts the serious effect of erosion and the advance of desertification. In Andalusia, the expansion of the most environmentally friendly cultivation practices is also contributing to consumer peace of mind.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Source of Health

Extra virgin olive oil is an essential element of the Mediterranean diet, due to its organoleptic characteristics and its health benefits. Nowadays, there is worldwide interest in extra virgin olive oil, thanks to the universal recognition of its beneficial properties for health and its fundamental role in the Mediterranean diet. By consuming extra virgin olive oil, we not only enjoy a product of the highest quality, but at the same time, we take care of our health. Its daily consumption prevents cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cholesterol problems, among many other ailments. It is also proven that the consumption of extra virgin olive oil delays the effects of aging.

Protected Designation of Origin: Guaranteed Quality

One of the most notable features of Andalusian olive oil production is the increasing prominence of extra virgin olive oil, in a collective effort to offer high quality and preserve all the natural healthy and sensory properties of the olives from which it originates, as extra virgin olive oil only undergoes mechanical processes during extraction.

The olives are harvested directly from the tree at their optimal ripeness and are crushed within a maximum of 48 hours to ensure that all the quality the olive has on the tree is maintained. Extra virgin olive oil is stored in cellars, in stainless steel tanks, mills, or metal tanks internally coated with inert materials to avoid altering its properties. The production process is entirely natural, without any chemical treatments or additives. Both the production and processing of extra virgin olive oils with Protected Designation of Origin must be carried out within the territorial scope of the Denomination.

The expanse of the eight Andalusian provinces, marked by climatic and orographic differences, favors the existence of a wide variety of oils, each with its own personality. Among them, the most widespread olive varieties are Picual, Hojiblanca, Picuda, Lechín de Sevilla, Lechín de Granada or Verdial de Huévar, and Arbequina, which have found in this land an ideal environment to produce high-quality oil.

The richness and variety of Andalusian oils are reflected in the recognition of twelve Protected Designations of Origin and one Protected Geographical Indication, each with its own characteristics.

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