More About Andalusian Olive Oil
Olives and olive oil are arguably the most important food crop in Andalusia, and olive oil is an essential part of Andalusian cuisine. Responsible for about 75% of Spain's total olive production, the region of Andalusia produces more olive oil than any other place in the world. While olive oil production here is led by the province of Jaén, Andalusia also includes prominent olive oil producing areas such as Almería, Córdoba, and the Estepa municipality in Seville. Olive culture took hold in Andalusia during the period of Roman rule. Olive oil was an important commodity and historical evidence indicates that Andalusia exported olive oil to Italy and other Mediterranean countries during this era. When Andalusia later fell under Islamic rule, olive oil cultivation expanded and became an even more vital part of the regional economy.
Today the land is known for its iconic “sea of olive trees.” In fact Spain applied to UNESCO in 2017 to have "The Olive Grove Landscapes of Andalusia" listed as a World Heritage site. In the application the area was described as a "massive expanse comprising 70 million olive trees, making it the biggest tree plantation in Europe." The Andalusia region includes some of the best olive oil producers in the world, including Almazaras de la Subbetica, Castillo de Canena, Mueloliva, Nobleza del Sur, Oleoestepa, Oro Bailen, Oro del Desierto and Sucesores de Hermanos Lopez. The main olive varieties grown in Andalusia are Arbequina, Hojiblanca, Picuda and Picual. Gazpacho is perhaps the most representative dish in Andalusia and extra virgin olive oil is a crucial ingredient to this culinary favorite.