‘Empeltre’ and ‘Arbequina’ extra virgin olive oil
These two types of oil are highly valued in Spanish cuisine.
The fact is apart from their pleasant fruity smoothness, they have a series of very harmonious characteristics that make them stand head and shoulders above other oils.
Where are these oils from?
‘Arbequina’ extra virgin olive oil comes from a variety of olive known as ‘Arbequina’. It was introduced by the Duke of Medinaceli in the 17th century. The Duke lived in Arbeca castle/palace, in the region of Lleida (Catalonia), from whence the name comes in honour of that municipality.
From there, this olive spread throughout the Ebro Valley to become one of the world’s best-known varieties of olive nowadays.
‘Empeltre’ extra virgin olive oil comes from a variety of olive of the same name found predominantly in the Ebro Valley (La Rioja, Ribera Baja and Aragon), as well as in the Balearic Islands where it goes by the name ‘Menorquina’. It is one of the oldest olives cultivated in Spain.
The roots of the term ’empeltre’ lie in the Aragonese word ’empeltar’, which means ‘graft/implant‘.
What characterises the ’empeltre’ and ‘arbequina’ olive oils?
These highly aromatic oils are light and smooth with a smooth taste that stands out from other olive oils and makes them eminently usable for any consumer, including children and the elderly, as there is little aftertaste or spiciness.
In terms of aromas, the fruitiness (banana and apple) and almond are the highlight. To the eye, the ‘Empeltre’ extra virgin olive oil is a very special shade of yellow, while the ‘Arbequina’ is far greener.
Which dishes does these virgin extra olive oils go with?
Being both smooth and sweet, these oils are absolutely ideal for any dish.
The ‘Empeltre‘ works wonderfully well whether raw or for cooking; for instance, it goes beautifully well when making fried foods.
The ‘Arbequina‘ is more typically used raw, though it can also be used in cooking, though there some of its aromas are lost and it is not quite as effective as some other oils.