Considered the most delicately flavoured among the Spanish varieties, oil produced from the Arberquina olive is one of the most sought-after by professional chefs and consumers alike. Cultivated on the Spanish Peninsula for centuries, it rapidly became valued for its rich fruitiness and quality and today is one of the most highly-prized by experts for yielding superlative olive oils. Its origins are shrouded in mystery, although it owes its name to the village of Arberca in
the district of Las Garrigues in the Province
Its true provenance remains unknown: many pin-point this as being Palestine, introduced to the Catalan-Aragonese Kingdom by the Knights Templar. Others say that it was introduced by sailors hailing from Asia. Others believe that it was King James I who first brought the olive tree from Mallorca to Catalonia and credit the Duke of Medinaceli, who resided in the castle of Arberca, for
Its fruity flavour and balanced bitterness and pungency are reminiscent of puréed green fruit with hints of tomato and green almond. As such, it is ideal for preparing sauces and dressings - from aioli to vinaigrettes – and delicious with unaged cheese or anchovies or drizzled over all types of vegetables and fish. Some believe that the Arberquina olive is ideally suited to delicate dishes such as pastries. Beyond all doubt, its smoothness on the palate - reminiscent of freshly mown grass and green apple –makes this olive oil an essential ingredient in any recipe, as it does not swamp other flavours.
Saturday, 3 January 2015