Spanish Olive Varieties
There are over 260 varieties of olives which are cultivated in Spain. Just as fine wines are produced from many different varieties of grape, many different varieties of olive are used to produce olive oil.
Some of the more common varieties are discussed below……..
Picual (also known as ‘Marteña’ or ‘Lopereña’) olives are grown in the Spanish provinces of Jaén, Córdoba and Granada and accounts for around 50% of the Spanish olives and in turn around 20% of the world’s olives.
Picual oil has a lot of body are are characterised by an intense, slightly bitter, peppery taste.
Hojiblanca olives are grown mainly in the Spanish provinces of Eastern Seville, Sourthern Cordoba and Northern Málaga and account for around 15% of Andalucia’s total olive crop. Its name refers to the silvery sheen of the leaves. The oil yield from these type of olives is low and therefore it is expensive to produce.
It is characterised by the aroma of freshly cut grass. The taste at first is sweet and fruity, followed by a slight bitterness and a peppery finish.
The Arbequina variety, originally from Catalonia but grown much more widely today, produces a sweet oil characterised by fruity aromas of apple, banana and almond.
Another Andalusian variety, these olives have a pointed tip which is where the Picudo olive gets its name. These olives are found in the provinces of Córdoba, Granada, Málaga and Jaén.
The oil produced from these olives is extremely aromatic and is characterised by its green fruity flavour with notes of green apple.
Cornicabra olives are mainly found in the provinces of Toledo, Ciudad Real and Madrid. Its name refers to the curved shape of the fruit.
It produces golden fruity oil with greenish reflections. The taste is sweetish with a slightly bitter aftertaste and with tones of avocado and fresh tomato.
An olive from the north of Spain in Aragon. Empeltre olives produce a light coloured oil with fruity, slightly sweet almond flavour with no bitterness.
Empeltre oil it ideal for blending with other olive oils that are more pungent and bitter.