When we buy extra virgin olive oil, we don’t often pay attention to the olive variety that is being used to make the olive oil. This is largely inadvisable.
Like wines, which are produced from different grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, extra virgin olive oils are also made from different olive varieties.
Each olive variety has its own characteristics, personality and intensity. Here is a look at one of the olive varieties widely planted worldwide and used in culinary preparation: Arbequina.
Mono-Varietal Olive Oil
To begin, extra virgin olive oil is similar to wine in many ways, for example, Merlot wine is named after its grape variety. When only one single variety of olives are crushed to make the olive oil, we call it a mono-varietal (or cultivar) olive oil, for example, Arbequina olive oil.
It is important to know which variety is used in producing the olive oil because, first and foremost, each olive variety has unique characteristics that will influence the aroma, taste and partly intensity (strong, medium or delicate) of the olive oil it produces. Knowing the varietal can help us buy the right kind of olive oil to suite our own taste preference, and meet our culinary needs.
Second, each olive variety contains certain amount of polyphenols and mono-unsaturated fats that can be forced out of the olives during oil extraction. Some olives naturally produce higher polyphenols and mono-unsaturated fats and some are lower.
Finally, with regard to home cooking, we should opt for an extra virgin olive oil of high smoke point, or more appropriately, that is more heat-stable. Some olive varieties are more stable under high-heat conditions but some are not.
Spain grows more than 200 varieties of olives. Arbequina olive is just one. It has an oval shape and relatively small in size but surprisingly has high oil yield.
Arbequina olives are originally grown in Catalonia region, in the northeastern Spain, which is known for the lively beach resorts of Costa Brava as well as the Pyrenees Mountains.
But now they are grown in all Spain, and in fact, Arbequina olives are one of the most widely planted olive variety in the world due to it’s ability to flourish in various conditions.
Arbequina olive oil is one of the more delicate tasting olive oils. It has a pleasantly sweet, aromatic, and fruity aroma and taste of apple, banana and almond. And perhaps important to some, it has a slight or almost undetectable bitterness and peppery aftertaste.
Many people, especially children and those who are not used to consume olive oils, will likely appreciate its smooth and soft buttery taste.
Arbequina olive oil is an all-purpose everyday go-to oil. It is delicious in vinaigrettes, mayonnaise or soft and delicate sauces.
In general, we can use a delicate oil such as Arbequina for the following culinary uses:
- It is a good substitute for butter in baking, such as in brownies and pound cake. We can replace four parts of butter with three parts of extra virgin olive oil.
- Drizzle over meats to bring out the sweetness of the meat. And it is also an excellent choice for drizzling over vegetables and grilled fish.
- Drizzle over the vanilla ice cream and sprinkle it with some flaky sea salt.
- It is perfect for bread dip.
- And because it is delicate and less bitter, it is an excellent choice for low to medium-temperature cooking like frying vegetables and eggs, and food that is coated in batter, flour or breadcrumbs.
- It pairs well with leafy green salads or fruit salads.
Soler Romero Arbequina Olive Oil
It is an organic extra virgin olive oil. Its acidity is around 0.15%, which is automatically classified as a premium quality olive oil. It is produced from early-harvest green Arbequina olives and hence its polyphenols are also relatively high, which is around 500 mg/kg, if we compare it with the supermarket extra virgin olive oils, where their polyphenols are usually in the range of 80 – 150 mg/kg.
Soler Romero Arbequina is a selected production of Arbequina extra virgin olive oil. The aroma and taste is very delicate, mild and sweet. We can easily recognise the intense fruitiness of ripe fruits such as tomato, apple, banana and fresh olives.
We recommend this olive oil for children and those who prefer a sweet, smooth, mild, delicate and buttery extra virgin olive oil.