Spanish Olive Oil
Among the World's Best
Spain is the leading olive producer in the world. The country's unique and varied microclimates, and diverse olive varietals produce an extensive array of olive oils.
Our hand-picked, boutique producers know their product. They produce olive oil of highest quality by taking immaculate care of their olive groves. They understand each process that takes their raw, harvested olive and turns it into some the the world's best oil oil. This dedication to purity and perfection shines through in every bottle.
The Right Olive
According to research by the University of Cordoba the olive variety accounts for 45% of the final product's flavour, acidity and quality. Each of the over 230 varieties of olive trees have their own unique characteristics. Just like different grape varities produce wine with different character, each type of olive has its own unique characteristics, and not all types of olives are suitable for oil production.
The Picual variety, largely grown in the mountainous regions of Granada, produces oils with body, sweet with a light bitter flavor, while the Hojiblanca variety from Málaga produces sweeter oils, with a light spicy flavor.
Many recognize that “Extra Virgin” and “Virgin” are the product of the "first press", but many don't understand the full story of olive oil. The way that the paste is treated can make a significant difference in the quality, flavour, intensity, and acidity of the oil. There are 3 types of oil extraction methods:
1. Cold Press (Virgin)
In order to produce “Virgin Olive” oil you must first crush the olives into a paste (Malaxation). The paste is then slowly turned for 1-1.5 hours. Olive oil can only be called Virgin if mechanical pressing has been used for making the paste of the fruit without any chemicals.
2. Warm Press (Virgin) You can still call your process “Virgin” even if you heat the paste. In order to reduce costs and increase production many volume producers heat the paste to extract higher levels of oil from the raw product. By heating the paste, producers can increase the oil yield by 100%. It's only logical to assume that the higher the volume of oil extracted from a given weight of paste, the lower the intensity of the flavour or quality. Think of it as a trade off between volume and flavour. There is only so much flavour to go around, so you only dilute it to create larger volume.
3. Refined It is also possible to extract more oil from the paste by adding chemicals as well as heating. Usually lesser quality, inexpensive grocery store olive oil is the product of second press. I.e.: once the producer has extracted as much oil as possible from the first press, the paste is passed through chemicals and additional heat is applied to extract more oil from the same paste.
Our selected Spanish Olive Oils are extra virgin and produced at temperatures below 20⁰C (cold press), which is considered to be the optimum for production of quality “Extra Virgin” oil. Our producers don't use chemical extraction or heat as they press their olive paste - therefore you get the natural intensity of oil just as Nature intended.
Processing is Key
It's the little details in the whole processing method that make our Spanish olive oil such a so special
Field-to-Ferment in 3 hours is the key reason our olive oil is so special is the amazingly short time between harvesting and production line. It's just three hours from the time the fruit has fallen from the tree to the moment it's crushed. This means fruit is not ripening (or over-ripening) in plastic or rubber bags for days before arrival at the mill. Uncontrolled olive fruit storage can cause significant degradation as well as cross contamination by use of such materials as rubber bags.
Hanging Fruit Only - In order to maximize production many commercial producers use olives that have already fallen on the ground. Good quality olive oil cannot be produced from fruit that has fallen to the ground due to it being over-ripe and having lain on mud for an unknown length of time.
No Fruit Storage - Most high volume production farms use rubber bags to store the olives until there is sufficient volume for the mill. Rubber emits vapour and an aroma, which contaminates the olives during storage. This influences the taste and aroma of the final olive oil product.
Clean Steel Only - Steel vaults help retain the flavour, colour and taste of olive oil. Unlike wine, introduction of external flavour and aroma such as oak barrels is unwelcome in olive oil production.
Freshness - The secret key along the entire production cycle including storage and bottling is freshness. By using only the current year’s production, we ensure freshness from the field to the table. Olive oil is stored in Stainless Steel vats filled with inert gas to prevent rusting or chemical reaction between the metal and the oil. Olive oil is only bottled when a batch is ready for shipment and never before. This means the oil in the bottle is as fresh as possible and practical.
At SolFarmers when we select our Olive Oil we are determined to bring the best to our customers, ensuring the best combination of traditional and modern methods.