Olive oil and table olives

Extremadura has traditionally been one of the main production areas in Spain for table olives, which have often been sold in bulk to companies from other areas. However, local producers have begun to realise that they've got an olive that's unique to Extremadura and nearby regions: la Aceituna Manzanilla Cacereña is, as its name indicates, a variety which comes from Cáceres. This black and juicy olive is worth seeking out and should forge an international reputation for itself over the coming years.

As for olive oils, there are two D.O.s (Denominations of Origin) in Extremadura, Gata-Hurdes and Monterrubio, both of which offer excellent value-for-money and an oil that's very different from products that can be found in Jaén, Córdoba and Toledo. One key point is that D.O. oil is only Extra Virgin, but what does this term actually mean?

Let's have a look at the different categories of olive oil that exist on the market:

Aceite de oliva refinado: a product that's made just from refined oil. You can't get anything much more basic than this in terms of aroma and taste.

Aceite de oliva: this term causes confusion among foreign consumers of olive oil, who mistaken think it's top-notch. In fact, this is actually a pretty ordinary product. it's a mixture of refined and virgin olive oils.

Aceite de Oliva Virgen: this oil hasn't been refined and has only been obtained mechanically, although it's not the best, which is...

Aceite de Oliva Virgen Extra: the difference between Virgen and Virgen Extra is the acidity involved (i.e. lower in the latter case), thus drawing out the height of complexity in flavours and aromas. The seal of a D.O. guarantees that the contents of the bottle are what they state on the label and do come from that area. Just as with other products such as hams and wines, it's usually worth paying a bit extra for a D.O. product.
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