Today we will discuss olive oil quality by country based on our location. But first we must point out that every country is different, which means that every oil is also different.
The weather, the traditions for harvesting and handling the olives, the production process and even the packaging! All of these factors alter characteristics such as color and smell, without influencing the quality. Actually, a good EVOO is going to be good no matter the country!
Join us for a trip around the world to learn more about types of olive oils by country!
1. Let’s begin at home: U.S.A.
The United States is one of the top olive oil consumers in the world, but what is its role as a quality olive oil producer?
The West Coast, specifically California, is number one in terms of olive farming and therefore of olive oil and extra virgin olive oil production, which has spiked since 2015.
However, olive oil has been at the heart of the Mediterranean diet for centuries, which is why the countries that are bathed by this body of water, such as Spain, Italy and Greece, are so important for producing and exporting quality olive oil.
Are you ready for take-off?
2. Let’s cross the Atlantic! Spain and Italy
The top spot for olive oil production and exports is for Spain, followed by Italy. It should be noted that more than 50% of worldwide production comes from Spain.
In Italy, our first stop, the provinces that produce the most oil are Calabria and Apulia, whereas in Spain, the province of Jaén is the top producer and exporter. Jaén is also home of the 2020 Absolute Best Olive Oil.
What do we love about each one?
More than 350 types of olives are grown in Italy, and each variety produces a different and unique oil. In Spain, where tradition marks the direction of oil production, the heart of olive farming can be found in Andalusia, specifically Jaén. So if what we love about Italy is the variety of olives grown there, then the purity of Spain’s production is what stands out in the latter.
3. Must-see Portugal
Portuguese oil goes hand in hand with the Alentejo region, beyond the Tagus River. Most Portuguese oil is obtained from this region, which offers excellent results in every sense.
Who could resist taking home a couple of bottles of “Portuguese liquid gold” with them?
4. A layover in Greece
This post would not be complete without Greece, cradle of all oil. Many historians have traced olive farming back to ancient Greece, under Egyptian influence.
Olive trees were so valuable to Greeks that these plants were practically revered and viewed as mythological, and early Olympic champions were crowned with a wild olive branch, a tradition that still remains intact.
Around 60% of the fertile land in Greece is occupied by olive trees, particularly along the Peloponeso hillsides. This country is other of the biggest producers of extra virgin olive oil, establishing its Olympus of oil leadership position.
5. Nearing our destination: Croatia
As we wrap up the four countries that are renowned for olive oil, we pack our bags with sweaters and coats and head to Croatia, our final destination. Little by little, this country is forging its way through recognitions and tastings as one of the best in the world for olive oil production.
Croatian olive oil is famous for its artisan production, which primarily follows family traditions that have been passed down through generations. For this reason, this nation’s oil production volume cannot be compared with that of Spain or Italy. But the quality is definitely up to par. It is therefore no surprise that Cres Island has been granted PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin) since 2015.
This marks the end of our trip around the world to five olive oil producing countries. We hope you enjoyed the experience and don’t have too much jet lag!
Would you like additional information? Learn more about oil quality indicators at this link.