Olive oil tourism is, along with wine, one of the main branches of our region and our association. The so-called liquid gold is essential to the Mediterranean diet and playing thus a key role in our nourishment. As you well know, at Priorat Enoturisme we have several mills that produce extra-virgin olive oil, so… would you like to learn more about this precious product?
Since one can never know too much, here are some fun facts:
- The Spanish word for oil, ‘aceite’, derives from the Arabic ‘az-zait’, meaning ‘olive juice’.
- It takes 5 kilos of olives to make 1 litre of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, with approximately 2.3 million hectares (5.7 million acres) of land in the country dedicated to olive groves.
- However, even though we are the leading producer, we are not the biggest consumers. Countries like Greece actually surpass us in olive oil consumption.
- Olive oil does not lose its qualities when used for cooking (in other words, when subjected to high heat). Nonetheless, some of its nutritional components evaporate and it loses intensity when heated.
- Is olive oil fattening? In general, any fat, whether of animal or plant origin, provides the same amount of energy: 9 kcal per gram. We can say that only butter and margarine have a lower calorific value.
- You can recognise high-quality olive oil, above all, by the aroma. It should be fruity, intense and fresh.
- Olive oil is stored in opaque glass bottles which offer protection from oxidation caused by the light. Therefore, it is crucial to keep olive oil at the temperature of 15 to 20 degrees.
- The fresher the olive oil, the better. The truth is that as the olive oil ages, it gradually loses the taste, texture, aroma and even the nutritional components.
- As in case of wines, olive oils can be paired with dishes. For instance, light fruity olive oils are recommended for white fish, sauces like mayonnaise, chicken and vegetables. Meanwhile, intense fruity olive oils pair well with oily fish, vegetables such as broccoli, salads and red meats.