OliveOilTour visits Expoliva in Jaén on May 14th 2011

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Every 2 years Expoliva, (the international fair of olive oil and allied industries), is held in Jaén. This year’s the XV exhibition was shown from the 11th to the 14th of May. The Jaén province is the most important place for production of olive oil and has the biggest concentration of olive trees in Spain.

Some interesting facts about ExtraVirgin OliveOil in Spain:

This year`s harvest produced more than 800 000 tons, which is the best on record. This represents around 40% of all the world`s production.

  • expoliva 2011 cata spanish breakfast
  • expoliva 20112 arb

In Spain more than 2.500.000 hectares are used for olive groves and more than 300 municipalities and 250.000 families depend on this industry. There are 1.733 mills, 45% of which are in Andalusia.

Here are some of the many interesting things we saw:

The exhibition showed little saplings, different varieties of trees, also new varieties. There were displays of fertilizers, machines for harvesting, and for extracting the oil from centrifuges, traditional presses, bottling chains, bottles and the final product itself, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil! For small producers as well as large industrial firms every aspect was included!

The International Olive Council was present of course. Based in Madrid, this organization  defines the European rules for olive oil to be called Extra Virgin. It must be extracted only by mechanical processes without the use of chemicals, at a temperature not higher than 27 degrees Celsius (80 Fahrenheit). This is known as “cold extraction” and the oil must be fruity, have no defect and have a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams.

The exhibition brought together a selection of 150 of the highest quality olive oils from around the world. Most of these oils were chosen because they have won international prices or have been considered the best oils in their countries of origin. All of the Spanish oils holding the appellation of origin (DOP) were represented at the event.

We tasted olive oils from all over the world, including Argentina, Chile, Morocco, France, Italy, Slovenia, Portugal, Mexico and Greece… and discovered new varieties of olives. Here we see our guide Violeta tasting Argentina’s olive oil and looking at their “arauco” olives.

It was impressive to see all the modern machinery that is used now for collecting the olives in the most efficient way.

This machine grabs the trunk of the tree, shakes it very hard and with this giant umbrella that is spread all around the tree, collects the olives directly.

This is one of the biggest combs that exist!

Having produced an excellent product it is important to keep it in the best possible condition. Therefore the bottles and containers are very important. We saw many diverse containers from which the producer could choose and the various cans and bottles were of many different shapes and sizes.

Olive Oil is one of the most important ingredients in Mediterranean cooking. To raise awareness of the many health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, the organization ´Interprofessional of Olive Oils` promotes the Spanish breakfast, with delicious typical recipes from famous Spanish nutritionists. Here we have one by Paco Roncero, a famous Spanish chef:

–    40 g toasted white whole grain bread
–    50 g tomato
–    5 g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
–    20 g Serrano ham
–    A low fat yogurt
–    A glass of orange juice
–    A cup of red tea… and if you are more thirsty, a glass of water…

This healthy and typical breakfast contains 368.3 Kcal, 48.7 carbon hydrates, 13.9 proteins and 13.1 lipids. Bon appétit!

Follow this link for more information about Expoliva: