The importance of the olive varieties
I've received a parcel from Reinos de Taifas with six different extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) samples. This tasting experience is quite unique because these oils come from single olive varieties, which is quite different than what you can find in grocery stores. You already know that different apple varieties have their own taste and profile. It's the same about the oils prepared from single olive varieties as well.
In this guide, I will help you to know more about these specialties and how to choose them depending on your needs and it's a great opportunity for me to develop my tasting skills and compare different oils... since I've never tried this before.
Behind the brand, there is a more than 300-year-old, family-owned olive farm in a small village called Castro del Rio, located in Southern Spain. Since the beginning, the family developed the technique of oil production with modernization for better quality and more effective extracting process and preserving the traditional method at the same time. You can find an interesting video with the stages of production here.
To make his family-produced oils well known around the world, Juan created the brand of Reinos de Taifas then started to trade with selected olive oils.
These olive oils meet the demands of the Green Gold category. It means that the oil is extracted from freshly harvested olives at the optimal ripening stage, in low temperatures using traditional methods so the product preserves all its organoleptic properties.
Juan shares the details of sustainable farming together with their testing methods very detailed. In my opinion, this type of transparency is very positive since the producer lets us discover the product we buy, and it builds a different level of trust between the brand and the customer.
Let's see my tasting experience of the different oils.
By the way... you can see my own sourdough bread in the background and as small pieces for dipping. I'm so proud of my starter and my method that works constantly, so I will share all the secrets soon!
Arbequino oil is my personal favorite. The variety takes its name from the town of leridana de Arbeca. It's so essential to grind these olives when they are green, therefore the harvesting is due at the end of October - November instead of the usual December - January.
It produces a very fluid and sweet oil without bitter or peppery flavors. It's not too strong, perfect if you need an oil that won't be too bold. It has a natural flavor with an herbaceous tone of olive but you can discover apple, banana, and almond too.
This is the typical oil of the Castro del Rio area and the tree where it comes from has a trunk that grows in an anarchic way which makes the harvest a bit challenging, but the result makes every effort worthy. It takes its name from its curved pointed tip.
Picudo oil is aromatic, light in colour, and has dense consistency. It is characterized by its green fruity flavor with green apple and olive leaf notes.
Koroneiki oil is the exotic one in this range since the origin of the trees is in Greece.
These olives must be ground when they are still green, so the harvesting must be done early as well to achieve a very intensive fruity flavor. The oil has intense green colour and is perfect for enjoying it raw or add at the end of cooking.
Picual is the most abundant variety in Spain and the world. Its name refers to the fruit’s pointed tip shape.
Picual oil is slightly dark green and it has an intense flavour with a sharp, bitter touch at the end due to its high content in tannins. This is the reason why you definitely will recognize it in a range of other oils with its fruity green olive scores, and a lightly peppery and bitter olive leaf taste.
Its oil is prized for its high stability, which gives it great resistance to high temperatures and it is ideal for preserving too.
The name of this variety refers to the white color of the leaves. It has the particularity of being used to obtain both oil and table olives as well.
Hojiblanca oil is very aromatic, sweet, with a slight bitterness and a peppery finish in the mouth. It is characterized by its taste and aroma of freshly cut grass and aromatic plants.
Alfafarenca variety gets its name from the city of Alfafara in Alicante province.
Thanks to the high oleic acid and polyphenols content, Alfafarenca oil is very stable and has significant antioxidant properties. It offers very aromatic oil with a perfect balance of bitterness and spiciness, with green, fruity, slightly bitter notes.
*Bonus oils, not yet in the webshop
I hope you learned many new and interesting facts about the single variety, extra virgin olive oils, and will choose your favorite even more confidently in the future! If you ever have a chance to taste different oils at the same time, I highly recommend doing it because that's what gives you a deeper understanding of the ingredients you use.