Spanish Olive Oil

Spain is the world´s top producer and exporter of Olive Oil with about 45% of the global market.  This comes to about 1,400 Metric tonnes of Olive Oil per year, a figure that has increased quite a bit in the last ten years.  Among the countries that Spain exports to is Italy which is a bit strange considering that it is also an Olive Oil producing and exporting country.  The reason, I believe, is that Italy does not produce enough to meet its exportation demand and has to import Spanish Olive Oil which is then packaged in Italy and exported.  Italy produces about half the quantity of Olive Oil as Spain but in many areas of the United States at least is more well known.

"Interprofesional del aceite de oliva"  is a non-profit org. that is focused on promoting the use of Spanish olive oil.

The following is a list of Spanish Olive oil varieties, where they are grown and their characteristics..
  • ARBEQUINA - originally from Arbeca, Lérida but now is grown in Cataluña, Zaragoza, Teruel and Huesca. This variety makes a high quality grade of oil.
  • CORNICABRA - grown in Castilla.  This variety is very resistant to cold weather and to droughts. Its oil is known for a fruity, aromatic flavor and low bitterness.
  • FARGA - grown in Tarragona, Valencia, Castellón and Teruel.  This variety is known for high level of oil production, a good quality oil although with a difficult extraction.
  • MORRUT - grown in Tarragona and Castellón. This variety is not very high quality and is not known for regular or high levels of oil production.
  • PICUAL - grown in the province of Jaén, this is the most important variety of Olive in Spain.  It accounts for about 50% of all Olive trees in Spain. Known for high level of oil production with a good quality product.
  • PICUDO - grown in Cordoba, Jaén, Granada and Málaga.  This variety is emblematic of Cordoba.  Its production is varied from year to year but tends to have a high productivity.  It is prized for its unique characteristics.
  • VERDIAL DE BADAJOZ - grown in Badajoz, Extremadura.  A medium production level that is variable from year to year.  The oil is quite fruity with a fairly strong bitter taste.
  • CORNEZUELO - grown in the middle of the Iberian peninsula, most notably in the region of Toledo.  Constant level of production but not too high.  Known as quality, light oil. This variety is also used to produce table olives.
  • HOJIBLANCA - grown in the Andalucian provinces of Sevilla, Córdoba and Málaga.  Accounts for 16% of the Olive trees in Andalucia.  The olives of this variety weigh from 1.5-4 grams and have about  22% production rate. This variety is also used to produce table olives.
  • NEGRAL - grown in Aragón, Navarra and Jaén.  Along the banks of the Ebro river this olive variety occupies 50% of the fertile land.  Has a high level of production of high quality oil.  This variety is also used to produce table olives.


  1. Interestingly, Arbequina is widely grown in US, mostly in super high-density plantings producing high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil at an affordable price. There are over 500 olive oil producers in North America covering about 1% of the US consumption. Check California Olive Oil Council (, Texas Olive Oil Council ( and Olive Oil Source ( When you find EVOO at your local farmers' market it is the freshest you can get.

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