The Olive Oil
The Olive Tree
The olive tree is a symbol of immortality and is an intimate part of the history, tradition and culture of L’Albagés and its people. Theirenthusiasm for growing olives and producing top-quality extra virgin olive oil has been handed down from generation to generation and is backed by the Les Garrigues Protected Designation of Origin. The arbequina is the predominant olive type. It is rustic, frost-tolerant and adapts to different climate and soil conditions. It is not a vigorous tree and does not thrive in calcareous soil. It adapts well to poor soil and is cold-tolerant. Its small crown makes it better suited tohigh-density plantations than more vigorous trees. It is acknowledged as one of the best varieties for olive oil production.
The fruits of the olive tree, and the arbequina in particular, are round and symmetrical and grow in clusters. Harvesting the olives is laborious because they are very small, although the yield resulting from hand picking is much greater than with other Catalan varieties because of the tree’s lower vigor and its characteristic clusters of olives. The harvested olives are taken to the mill as quickly as possible. One of the Protected Designation of Origin regulations stipulates that the olives must be ground within 24 hours of picking. The cooperative pays its members according to the oil obtained from each kilogram of olives. This system encourages growers to take maximum care in pruning their trees, working the earth and fertilizing the plantations. Care and timing with these tasks determine the yield of the olive harvest and the profits for each grower. The olives are cleaned by means of blowers in the cooperative facilities to remove leaves and dirt and are then stored in hoppers. They are placed in the mill and rinsed immediately with water, and oil production begins.
The olives are ground and stirred to produce a thinpaste, which gives more oil. The paste is centrifuged to separate the liquid part (the oil) from the solid residue (the pomace). The resulting oil is stored in stainless steel racking tanks to remove impurities and is then filtered. It is a completely natural product, the juice of a fruit, obtained directly by cold-pressing arbequina olives using only mechanical processes. Production takes place in conditions that will not alter the properties in any way, and no chemical processes or manipulation are involved. Our cooperative produces extra virgin oil under the Les Garrigues Protected Designation of Origin, which entails rigorous production controls to guarantee the origin and maximum quality of what is undoubtedly one of the best oils in the world.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
This is the highest virgin olive oil category, with a maximum acidity of 0.5%. Our oil belongs to this group and, furthermore, its meanacidity is never more than 0.2%.
Les Garrigues PDO
The Les Garrigues Designation of Origin has existed for 30 years and is the oldest in Spain (1975). It was certified by the European Union as a Protected Designation of Origin in 1996. The Les Garrigues PDO is the certification body responsible for the production controls that guarantee the origin and maximum quality of what is undoubtedly one of the best oils in the world. The Designation of Origin regulationsstipulate a maximum acidity of 0.5%. The mean acidity of oils marketed with this seal is less than 0.2%. Virgin extra olive oil produced under the Les Garrigues PDO uses only high-quality arbequina olives picked directly from the tree. There are two types of Les Garrigues PDO olive oil, according to the season when the olives are harvested.
Fruity: This type comes from an early harvest. It is greenish, full-bodied and slightly bitter.
Sweet: This oil is made from olives harvested later. It is yellow and more fluid.