In the area of les Garrigues, due to both a lack of irrigation and the conditions of terrain, there has been a need to specialize in cultivating crops typical for dry regions. Cereals, vines, almond trees and, above all, olive trees are the most traditional and characteristic crop for these terrains.
Here the best oil in the world is produced, it is obtained from the olive variety Arbequina.
The cultivation of the olive tree, its harvesting and almost artisanal production of olive oil are a tourist attraction in themselves. Visiting any mill and a cooperative of the producer in the village is a remarkable experience. Moreover, it goes without saying, you can buy some litres of this valuable liquid, and stroll around these villages, witnesses of former splendour. They have preserved an old-fashioned, serene and peaceful way of life as well as great dignity and lordly features.
Nowadays extra virgin olive oil is thought of as an ingredient that gives the most satisfaction in cuisine when used not only in raw vinaigrettes, so fashionable today, but in cooked dishes as well. Olive oil is valued as it deserves. It is the oil, that highlights the gastronomic and aromatic virtues of dishes in the best way.
Extra virgin olive oil, made from Arbequina olives, has extraordinary culinary, dietetic and medicinal properties. Its organoleptic characteristics make it internationally renowned, since its fruit and mild taste makes it suitable for raw dishes, like salads, toasted bread, pa amb tomata (bread topped with crushed tomatoes), etc.
Harvested and produced entirely by hand, it is the ideal olive oil because:
In addition, it is naturally obtained, without any chemical procedures, colouring or preservatives.
Thus, it can be stated that the olive oil produced in the cooperatives and private mills in our region is the best natural extra virgin olive oil, obtained purely by means of crushing olives without any other manipulation.
The Catalan virgin olive oils used for the origin labels like Les Garrigues and DOP les Garrigues, are demanding olive oils in the way they are produced, and have to have a maximum acidity of 0.5 degrees. Such a low natural acidity is only obtained when there is a large amount of Arbequina olive trees, which makes olive oil milder and less acidic. At the same time the harvesting and production processes have to be adhered to accurately.
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