Olive oil & Gastronomy

Olive oil & Gastronomy

Olive oil

Olive oil is today synonymous with excellence and health. It is one of the essential staples of the Mediterranean diet, giving a touch of distinction to any dish in our kitchen.

Features of olive oil from Jaén and certificates of origin

Certificates of origin


The so-called Protected Certificate of Origin (Denominación de Origen Protegida, DOP) is an official recognition at European level in the Council Regulation CE 2081/92, which is awarded to products of a special quality, due to their history and natural milieu.

The agency in charge of controlling the certificate of origin is the Consejo Regulador, belonging to the Consejería de Agricultura y Pesca of the Junta de Andalucía. This Consejo Regulador registers olive groves, oil mills and packing plants.

The olive oil with certificate of origin undergoes a certification process that begins with the examination of the olive grove itself to the very moment the product is bottled.

In the province of Jaén there are today three certificates of origin for extra virgin olive oil:

  • Sierra de Cazorla
  • Sierra de Cazorla

    It is located at the southeast of the province of Jaén, the birthplace of the river Guadalquivir, next to the Natural Park…

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  • Sierra de Segura
  • Sierra de Segura

    It was recognized as such in 1996 and it contains 25 oil mills, 6 packet plants, 14 marketing enterprises and 21 trademarks…

    See
  • Sierra Mágina
  • Sierra Mágina

    The region of Sierra Mágina is located at the centre of the southern part of the province of Jaén, …

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Types of olive oil

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Oil mills are factories in which olives are transformed into olive oil, exclusively through mechanical procedures (grinding, centrifugal force, decanting and filtering). Among the different oils produced we can distinguish the following categories:

“Extra virgin olive oil”: it is the olive oil with highest quality and category. It has irreproachable analytical and sensorial qualities. It is obtained directly from olives and only through mechanical procedures. Its aroma and taste reproduces that of the olives from which it comes from and it contains, unaltered, all the healthy and nutritional properties that are characteristic of this exceptional natural product. Extra virgin olive oil is the best natural juice from olives, and it can be presented both filtered or “in rama” (non-filtered). Extra virgin olive oil has an acidity that cannot exceed 0,8%.

“Virgin olive oil”: it is an oil of inferior quality to the extra virgin one. Although it is also obtained directly from olives through mechanical procedures (it is juice from olives), it presents several alterations in its analytical and sensorial parameters that prevent it from being classified as “extra” virgin. Its acidity can reach up to 2%.

“Lampante and refined olive oil”: together with the two categories above, oil mills also produce other types of oil which, in spite of having been obtained in a similar way, do not reach the necessary standard quality to belong to the “virgin” category. These faulty virgin oils are called lampante oils, because in ancient times they were used as fuel for lamps, due to their low quality. They cannot be consumed if they do not undergo a refining process in other industrial premises, the refineries, to correct its defects. The product that is obtained is refined olive oil, whose sensorial properties are practically neutral, for it lacks smell and taste. It cannot be consumed if it is not mixed with other appropriate oils.

“Orujo oil”: apart from the virgin olive oils (extra virgin, virgin and lampante), oil mills also produce a subproduct, the orujo, which contains a significant part of oil. This oil can be obtained, through physical and chemical processes, in other industrial premises called extractors, in which the raw orujo oil is obtained. This oil cannot be consumed, for it has to undergo a refining process. This ultimately results in refined orujo oil, which cannot be consumed either unless it is mixed with other appropriate oils.

According to the European legislation (Appendix 1 of Regulation CE 865/2004), apart from the categories “extra virgin olive oil” and “virgin olive oil” other categories that can be consumed and found in the market are:

“Olive oil”: it is a mixture of refined olive oil and a variable percentage of virgin olive oil or extra virgin olive oil.

“Olive orujo oil”: it is a mixture of refined olive orujo oil and a part of virgin olive oil or extra virgin olive oil.

The “picual” olive oil variety is predominant in the province of Jaén, representing 95% of the whole growing surface. It is of a green or yellow-green shade, easily recognizable. Its scent is usually defined as fruity, fresh and fragrant, whereas its taste presents a slight bitterness and prolonged aftertaste. The resistance of this oil to oxidation, thanks to its high content of oleuropeine (a polyphenol with antioxidant properties) guarantees its stability and preservation through long periods of time, which is one of the most salient virtues of the picual olive oil variety

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