No matter how small or basic a restaurant or bar in Spain may be, its tables will always be waiting for you with a bottle of extra virgin olive oil as well as salt and pepper and vinegar.
Olive oil is essential to Spanish cuisine. Its smell, taste and texture are intrinsic components of the flavour of Spain.
Spain is the world’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil and holds 29 certificates of origin. These are certificates required by the chambers of commerce when exporting goods internationally. These indicate that the oil has been produced from olives of a certain region only, rather than a mix of olives from all over Spain’s olive-producing areas, as the quality would be of a much lower standard if this were the case even though it could still be classed as Spanish olive oil. So, it is important to look out for the DOP certificate when you are looking for a quality olive oil.
The olive oils produced in Spain, mainly in the provinces of Andalusia and Catalonia, are of the highest quality. Their ranking in the yearly competition ‘The World’s Best Olive Oils’ and other prestigious competitions of olive oil, is in the highest positions.
In the ‘World’s Best Olive Oils’, 37 out of 50 tested are of Spanish origin.
Here is a link to the actual ranking list: http://www.worldsbestoliveoils.org/worlds-best-olive-oils.html
The top five olive oils listed are all of Spanish origin.
Here are the top three winners:
Mueloliva SL Top of the list is the extra virgin olive oil Venta del Barón, Mueloliva SL company based in the Subbética region of Cordoba, in the heart of Andalusia. It has a unique and exclusive processing system that allows oil extraction without heat or water. This guarantees the preservation of all the oil’s unique attributes.
Parqueoliva Gold Series In second place is Parqueoliva Gold Series produced by Almazaras Subbética, characterized by its fruity green smell of medium intensity and its sweet, almond green, bitter and spicy taste, also of medium intensity.
Morellana The bronze medal was for the Morellana oil produced by the Successors of Hermanos Lopez S.A company. It has a limited production of 8,000 bottles and tin cans annually, obtained by first cold pressed extraction with the best selection of Picudo olives from the Natural Park of the Sierras Subbéticas. Now you can go and check out those labels on olive oil products and be more selective when choosing olive oils for those special dishes!