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Olive Oil Varieties

Updated: May 20, 2022

Olive oil is one of the most exquisite liquids in the world. Its flavour and its presence is highly treasured both in the gastronomic world and on a general level where it is also used.


However, talking about it is a complex subject, it requires culture and knowledge, as there is an enormous variety and to check the quality of each one it is necessary to have a refined palate that knows how to taste the characteristics that make each species unique.



If you are interested in learning more about the different varieties of olive oil, you have come to the right place!


Olive oil is a very common ingredient in our kitchen, especially because of all the properties it provides and how good it makes any dish we prepare with it look.


In Spain there are many types of olives with which different varieties of olive oil are prepared, each of which is capable of providing an exclusive aroma and flavour. Discover the flavour and aroma of the different olives and their special olive oils and learn how to recognise them!


Olive oil and how to classify it


It is not just a question of whether it is virgin or extra virgin. The variety of olives and the place where they are produced have a great influence on the properties of olive oil.

Everything determines how it tastes and how it is best used in the kitchen. It is hard to believe, but some are recommended raw, such as using them for salads in vinaigrette, and there are others that are recommended for use on the stove.


Virgin? extra virgin? extra virgin? pomace...?


In the common sense, extra virgin olive oil - also known as EVOO - is of the highest quality because it is the product of cold-pressed olives, so it does not contain any chemical modifications that alter its tactile properties.


The colour will be more opaque, which is a sign of quality. Its value is related to a low fatty acid content, not exceeding 0.8%. Although it can be cooked on high heat, we recommend eating it raw and spiced tomatoes are a great complement.


When it is virgin, it means that the fruit is pressed in the same way as extra virgin, using only machines and cold processed, although of lower quality because it has a higher acidity. Slightly lighter in colour, it is a wonderful spice.

After all, products that are simply olive oil are the result of mixing refined olive oil with a little extra virgin olive oil to give it its flavour. For this reason, it is not recommended for cooking on high heat, as it burns very quickly, so we recommend using it to prepare vinegar.


When you read pomace oil, it refers to the same type of oil as normal cooking oil, except that it has a slight olive flavour. You can cook comfortably with it, as it will take longer to burn.


Olive varieties

Very particular effects arise from the delicate details found in the different types of olives, Spain offers lands that have excellent properties to cultivate them and create enriching olive oils with great taste and incredible aroma.


Here are the varieties of olives and the olive oils that result from them as a wonderful creation.

Arbequina

For example, the arbequina, an olive widely used in Malaga, Spain, has a light, fruity and almondy aroma.


It is a variety endemic to Catalonia and Alto Aragon, although its cultivation is practically widespread throughout Spain. Its name derives from the city of Lleida in Abeka. It produces a very diluted oil that has a sweet taste and is hardly bitter or spicy.

Have you tried our single variety made exclusively with Arbequina olives? It is a Gold medal-winning EVOO in its native land!



Picual

When you find olive oil made from picual, it will have a bright green colour, with a grassy aroma and a spicy, bitter taste. In Spain, it occurs in the Jaén region of Andalusia.


Its oils are prized for their high antioxidant capacity, which makes them durable at high temperatures in the kitchen and ideal for storing raw or cooked foods.


Sensorially, they are expressive green olive oils, full-bodied, with an olive leaf flavour that is pleasing to the eye with a touch of spiciness and bitterness.


Among our Extra Virgin Olive Oil you can find Oro del Maar de Cervera ECOLÓGICO, a single variety of the Picual variety.



Cornicabra

Cornicabras are popular in central Spain, producing oils with bitter tints and small fruity notes.


It is mainly distributed in the provinces of Toledo, Ciudad Real and Madrid, although it is also cultivated in the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz. Its name refers to the curved shape of the fruit, resembling the horns of a goat.


Its extra virgin olive oil is very fragrant, with olive fruits and other fruits, including apples. Pleasant herbal aroma of olive leaves on the palate, slightly bitter taste.


Picudo

It is one of the most important varieties in Andalusia and occupies an important place in the provinces of Cordoba, Granada, Malaga and Jaen. Although its name is similar, it is a completely different variety to the Picual variety. Its name is due to the separate knots that form the ends of the fruit. A very fragrant oil is obtained from this variety. It is characterised by green fruit flavours with a hint of green apple and olive leaves.


Hojiblanca

It is mainly grown in the provinces of Malaga, Cordoba, Granada and Seville. Its name refers to the white colour of the leaves. What distinguishes this variety is the fact that it can be used with both oil and table olives.

It is characterised by the taste and aroma of freshly cut grass, artichokes and aromatic plants. Sweet in the mouth, with a slight bitter taste and local spiciness in the mouth.


Alfafara

The golden oil has a balanced bitter and spicy taste, is well harvested and of high quality. It contains little oleic acid and is rich in tocopherol. Perfectly presented in the laboratory.


Although it is considered the main variety of Almansa, there are few olive trees in the Albacete area. Its behaviour in the Andalusian landscape is very interesting, especially in nematodes or where there is an excess of clay and, therefore, complex soils. It is a prosperous variety, highly recommended as an alternative to Picual and its quality.


Arróniz

It is an expressive oil with notes of ripe and herbaceous fruit, almonds and green walnuts. It has a sour and bitter taste in the mouth, but that is not a negative. Delicious and unique taste. Slightly spicy and persistent aftertaste. Great oil. Perfect for seasoning roasted peppers with Maldon salt.


Changlot Real

Typical variety of Levante, produced in the communities of Valencia. This is the source of extra virgin olive oil which has a fruity, spicy and bitter taste. It is known for its green tones with notes of apple, wood and almond. This variety is one of the recognised varieties for the production of extra virgin olive oil, protected by the Denomination of Origin of the Valencian Community.


Coupage olive oil

The term "coupage" is used in the production and packaging of olive oil when the oil in question does not come from an individual variety but from a blend or combination of two or more olives.


Coupage olive oil can be obtained in the following two ways, which are explained below.


  1. A more traditional method is to mix different types of olives in the mill during production. This is usually the case in large volume mills, in areas where there are many olive groves, where there are many varieties and the fruit cannot be separated by variety because it is not possible to go to the mill for maximum production, or also, because in the field it is almost impossible for the farmers to separate, obliged to harvest everything and take it to the mill.


  1. Another way to achieve Coupage, what we could call "the preparation", is to mill each olive separately, creating a variety of extra virgin olive oils, each at its optimum point of ripeness for High Quality. Then, in the vineyard, the varieties can be tasted, and once the decision has been made, they are mixed in different proportions, resulting in combinations, assemblages, blends or coupage of the oils that have been selected for production. This last option is the one used in our Almazara to create coupage of the highest quality. We show you some of them!



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