Growing foods in the desert seems a near impossibility. Yet the Alonso family of Almeria province in southern Spain has spent the last century farming lands of the Tabernas Desert, famously known as the only desert in Europe. While the desert climate limits the production of their olive trees, the intense landscape contributes to their farm’s organic roots. The results are high-quality and uniquely regional olive oils: aromatic, well-balanced, and truly deserving of the name ‘Desert Gold.’
This is the treasure from many generations in the Mediterranean, a product from a fruit born in the sun of a dry land.
The Tabernas desert region may be better known for the spaghetti western film productions of Sergio Leone, or more recent productions, like Game of Thrones. Perhaps the region’s fame derives from the massive installation of greenhouses, so large it can be seen from space, that yield 50% of the fruit and vegetables grown yearly in the EU. And it is here, in the heart of Europe's driest area, that lies a secret treasure: Oro del Desierto's olive groves, which thrive in this microclimate of minimal rainfall and over 3,000 hours of sunshine.
The four olive varieties grown on the estate represent the true taste of Spain: the light and fruity Arbequina; the smooth and mildly sweet Lechín; the medium-intense family favorite, Hojiblanca; and the robust and famously high phenolic Picual. While each monocultivar oil deserves and wins awards in its own right, the specially-crafted and multi-award winning Coupage represents the culmination of all the careful work performed at the farm. With the desert conditions testing the trees each year, they also test the Master Miller who is tasked with creating this perfect varietal blend year after year.
The climate influences not only the identity of the trees’ caretakers, but also the identity of the olives grown on the estate. As a result, the desert trees create oils with more intense flavors and levels of polyphenols. The unwavering heat also aids the health of the trees, while stable temperatures throughout the whole growing and ripening period lead to a remarkably consistent product. It is this consistency, alongside the family tradition of organic farming, that produces these exceptional and treasured oils.