Olive Oil from Farmhouse B&B near Malaga
"Olive Oil from Andalucia"
Special Olive Oil from a Special PlaceSpain is the world largest producer of Olive Oil and in Andalucia we produce 80% of Spanish total production. With over 230 varieties of Olive trees, 3 methods of oil extraction, and 5 major categories of oil, consumers have a bewildering range of choice and understandably there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about Olive oil.
After 5 years of research and trials we have commissioned Cortijo Garay to produce a very Special Oil for Cortijo Valverde. Our Olive Oil delivers the strong flavour, low acidity and is produced by people who are as passionate about quality food as we are.
Olive oil production is an ancient tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. However, not all olive oils are the same and not all production methods are equal, despite the common references to Extra Virgin, Virgin, etc. Our olive oil is produced using traditional production methods whilst delpoying modern technology to enhance the quality of oil wherever possible.
How to make a very Special Olive Oil.In order to produce olive oil of highest quality you need to consider many factors including tree variety, pressing method, processing method and also attention to small details that make a vast difference in the quality of the final product. Tree Variety - Breeding Matters!
There are many elements that affect the quality of olive and olive oil production. According to research by the University of Cordoba the tree variety accounts for 45% of the final product's flavour, acidity and quality. Each of the over 230 varieties of olive trees have their own unique characteristics. Just like grape verities that produce wine with different character, each type of olive tree has its own unique characteristic and not all types of olive trees are suitable for oil production.
In order to achieve balance, intensity and unforgettable flavour, only 3 varieties (Arbequina, Hojiblanca, Picual) of Olive trees are used in the production of our oil.
Pressing Method - When “Olive Oil” is not so virgin?!Whilst most people recognise that “Extra Virgin” and “Virgin” are the product of the “first press”, not many people know that the label does not quite tell the full story. The way that the paste is treated can make a significant difference in the quality, flavour, intensity, and acidity of the oil. There are 3 types of oil extraction methods:
Cold Press (Virgin)
In order to produce “Virgin Olive” oil you must first crush the olives into a paste (Malaxation). The paste is then slowly turned for 1-1.5 hours. Olive oil can only be called Virgin if mechanical pressing has been used for making the paste (Malaxation) of the fruit without any chemicals.
Warm Press (Virgin!)
You can still call your process “Virgin” even if you heat the paste. In order to reduce costs and increase production many volume producers heat the paste to extract higher levels of oil from the paste. By heating the paste, producers can increase the oil yield by 100%. It is only logical to assume that the higher the volume of oil extracted from a given weight of paste, the lower the intensity of the flavour or quality. Think of it as a trade off between volume and flavour. There is only so much flavour to go around, so you can dilute it to create larger volume or you can reduce the volume to intensify the flavour.
It is possible to extract more oil from the paste by adding chemicals as well as heating. Usually the cheaper oil is the product of second press, namely once the producer has extracted as much oil as possible from the first press, the paste is passed through chemicals and additional heat is applied to extract more oil from the same paste.
Olive Oil VarietyOlive Oil Variety or the Label refers to the quality, intensity of flavour and characteristics of the oil therefore providing guideline for its use.
Extra Virgin oil must be produced using “Virgin” method so mechanical pressing and first press is mandatory. You can call your oil Extra Virgin regardless of whether it was produced by “Cold Press” or “Warm Press” (but no chemical use) so long as the oil has acidity of less than 0.8%. With only 10% of world production qualifying as Extra Virgin, it is more expensive, has higher flavour intensity and therefore it is used for salads, garnish or for simply dipping your bread instead of using butter or other spreads.
Virgin (oil variety not pressing method!)
Virgin oil is product of Virgin extraction method (cold press or warm press). Virgin oil acidity can be up to 2% and therefore does not have the intensity of Extra Virgin oil making it suitable for cooking, dressing, etc.
Refined (oil variety not pressing method!)
Refined oil is usually derived from Virgin oil with high acidity by using chemical the acidity can be reduced down to as low as 0.3%. Refined oil does not have the intensity of flavour of either Virgin or Extra Virgin oil even when it matches the low acidity of Virgin oil.
Pure Olive Oil
Pure Olive Oil (or sometimes simply labelled Olive Oil) is a blend of Virgin and Refined oil. The blend is made to specific acidity and flavour defined by the manufacturer in order to obtain consistency in the production line.
Finally it is the attention to details that makes our oil such a Special Oil. These are not the details you usually find on labels nor would many oil manufacturers would want you to know!
- Field-to-Ferment in 3 hours! One of the reasons making our olive oil so special is the amazingly short time between harvesting and production line of just 3 hours. Yes it takes just 3 hours from the fruit falling off the tree and it ending up in the crusher! This means fruit is not ripening (or over-ripening) in plastic or rubber bags for days before arrival at the mill. This uncontrolled storage of olive fruit can cause significant degradation as well as cross contamination by use of such materials as rubber bags.
- Hanging Fruit Only - In order to maximise production many commercial producers use olives that have already fallen on the ground. Good quality olive oil cannot be produced from fruit that has fallen to the ground due to it being over-ripe and having lain on mud for an unknown length of time.
- No Fruit Storage - Most high volume production farms use rubber bags to store the olives until there is sufficient volume for the mill. Rubber emits vapour and an aroma, which contaminates the olives during storage. This influences the taste and aroma of the final olive oil product.
- No Bagging - Olives that have been stored before being sent to the mill start to ferment. This fermentation adversely impacts on the colour, taste and aroma. The only way to avoid this is to transport the olives immediately from the farm to the mill, so as to minimise the storage time and deny olives the opportunity to ferment.
- Clean Steel Only - Steel vaults help retain the flavour, colour and taste of olive oil. Unlike wine, introduction of external flavour and aroma such as oak barrels is unwelcome in olive oil production.
- Freshness - The secret key along the entire production cycle including storage and bottling is freshness. By using only the current year’s production, we ensure freshness from the field to the table. Olive oil is stored in Stainless Steel vats filled with inert gas to prevent rusting or chemical reaction between the metal and the oil. Olive oil is only bottled when a batch is ready for shipment and never before. This means the oil in the bottle is as fresh as possible and practical.