Designation of Origin olive oils: guaranteed quality
Come and discover the colour, aroma and unique tastes of Spanish extra virgin olive oil. Three characteristics that are guaranteed by the Designation of Origin seal. They are excellent quality oils that conserve all their natural vitamins and antioxidants. Try them in local dishes and be sure to purchase one or more varieties.
Olive oil plays a central role in Spanish cuisine, especially in the so-called Mediterranean diet. Its health benefits are also well recognised. This product has maintained its essence over thousands of years, during which time methods of extraction and production have been perfected. During these years, its uses have also multiplied, and different varieties have appeared such as refined oil and "orujo" (produced from the remains of other processes) along with the most famous variety: virgin olive oil.
As with all the most famous products of Spanish gastronomy, quality is assured through the Designation of Origin certificate. In the specific case of olive oil, this means that there has been no kind of alteration from collection of the olives to arrival in your hands: it conserves all its aroma, flavour and vitamins. There is one further characteristic that can be added, reflected in its name: extra virgin olive oil.
In Spain there are 24 Designations of Origin, each with specific characteristics that guarantee even higher levels of excellence. They can be found throughout the country. Andalusia, in southern Spain, is at the forefront, with half of them: twelve in total. The rest can be found shared between Catalonia, Castile-La Mancha, Extremadura, Aragon, the Balearic Islands and La Rioja. Within Andalusia, special mention should be made of Jaén, a destination not to be missed for all olive oil enthusiasts. One of the most characteristic areas of this olive-producing region is the Sierra Mágina Mountains, located right in a nature reserve. For your next trip you have a date with nature, and also with excellent gastronomy, thanks to the regional cuisine.
Your experience does not have to end there. When you come, be sure to take home a bottle of oil from the region you visit. When you get back, use it to dress salads, as an ingredient in strews or to season fish. You will taste the difference. How to tell if the oil you are purchasing is Designation of Origin? It's easy, you just have to look at the label. Nevertheless, as soon as you open it you will know. The aroma and taste are unique.
In coming articles we will offer more information on the areas of Spain most related with olive oil.