April 30th, 2013 | Food & Wine, Spanish Culture | 0 Comments
Over the years I’ve written about Spanish foods and cooking – tapas, saffron, cazuelas, grilling a la plancha, paella, etc – and one thing that has been a part of it all, besides the perfect Spanish wine to pair with it of course, is olive oil. It is truly essential in any Spanish pantry, an ingredient I use every day.
A few facts:
Native to the Mediterranean, wild olives have been used by people as early as the 8th millennium BC and were turned into oil as early at 4000-4500 BC.
There are many varieties of olives used to make olive oil. In Spain the main types are Picual, Arbequina, Hojiblanca, and Manzanilla de Jaén.
Spain produces almost half of the world’s olive oil, the majority of which comes from Andalucía, though the popular Arbequina olive is from Catalonia.
Olive oil can be used for frying, roasting, sautéing, dipping, drizzling, or dressing. There is no one size fits all though and it is common for Spanish households to have multiple types of olive oil. For example, Extra-Virgin is more delicate than Virgin and is best used for cold or low heat dishes.
Like wine, olive oil flavors are determined by olive variety and production process.
How do you use Spanish olive oil?
About.com Spanish Food – Tips on Buying Spanish Olive Oil