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Olivaria – Spanish Olive Oil, part 3: So Many Oils, So Little Time

May 17, 2010

Alimentaria in Barcelona devotes about 6,000 square feet to olive oil in the pavilion called “Olivaria”, and in the very back were several banks of long high tables for the sensory evaluation of 134 different extra virgin olive oils, each with very detailed tasting notes available.  I did a survey, and there were 24 different varietals represented.

The top three varietals represented nearly 63% of the oil shown; arbequina was in 47 of the 134 EVOOs; this is the same varietal that makes up the majority of what is cultivated in California today.  Picual and hojiblanca tied for second place with 19 and 18 each.  We don’t see much picual in California, but it is increasingly popular in Australia, and according to Olive Oil from Spain, makes up 50% of the Spanish production and therefore 20% of the olives in the world…and hojiblanca, well, that’s just really fun to say.

Oh-hee-blanca.  ¡Please don’t say Ho-gee-blanca!

24 olive oil varietals were represented at Alimentaria 2010

47 Arbequina

19 Picual

18 Hojiblanca

6 Cornicabra

6 Picuda / o (some producers used “a” and others “o”, but it is the same olive)

5 Manzanillo

3 Changlot Real (sorry I did not taste this!)

3 Pajarera

3 Blanqueta

2 Empeltre

2 Koroneiki

2 Cacereña

2 Genovesa

2 Alfafareuca

2 Arbosana

2 Afguedell

2 Verdial

2 Arróniz

1 Rojal

1 Arbreblanc

1 Verdal (same as Verdial?)

1 Frantoio

1 Cuquillo

1 Gallega

The tasting notes for the Changlot Real sounded quite interesting:  very fruity nose:  olive leaf, lavender and thyme; creamy on the palate, intense flavor with balanced bitterness and pungency.  I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to taste it, but now it’s on my radar.

Alimentaria 2010 - A lot of ground to cover

In the map above you might be able to discern a few olive-colored blocks on the far right.  See ’em?  The next objective is a meeting with a wine supplier in “Intervin”, the Wine & Spirits pavilion.  That’s the very large set of burgundy-colored blocks in the center, about 12x bigger than Olivaria at 72,000 square feet.

Intervin tasting station at Alimentaria, Barcelona

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Spanish olive oil.

¡Hasta la próxima!

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