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IAN & SPAIN

WELCOME TO MY BLOG. I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT SPANISH FOOD AND DRINK AND IN PARTICULAR MY OBSESSION FOR OLIVE OIL, ONE OF SPAIN'S MAJOR ASSETS AND GREATLY MISUNDERSTOOD BY THE MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS WORLDWIDE. I WILL ENDEAVOR TO PROVIDE YOU WITH ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO ENJOY THE WORLD OF OLIVE OIL WITHOUT BEING TAKEN FOR A RIDE! HOPE YOU ENJOY IT AND PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!

TOP 5 OLIVE OILS You can find in the supermarket this season
23 April 2013

Finding a decent olive oil in a supermarket in Spain isn’t an easy task these days so I thought I would write an article on the top 5 olive oils available on the shelves at the moment. Wanting this article to be useful to the majority of readers I decided to use Carrefour as the chosen supermarket for the review as there is probably one Carrefour close to everyone in Spain being the only supermarket that spans the national territory and the only supermarket apart from the Corte Ingles that really carries decent olive oils. Nonetheless I will comment on other supermarkets, not much though, because there isn’t much to comment on. This review is based on my personal opinion and that of my “olive oil” colleagues after a long discussion the other day when we were deciding who were the best Spanish producers year in year out. The ones that always maintain a high standard and produce great oils every Harvest.

The supermarkets I use on a regular basis are Consum, Mercadona and Carrefour. I can’t talk about any others as I haven’t really used them on a regular basis nor bought oils from them, however I only buy olive oil from Carrefour, as it is the only supermarket that has a real selection of “real” olive oils. I am yet to try a “real” extra virgin from Consum. Every olive oil I have bought over the last year has been an absolute disaster and I have just given up until they start to bring in decent oils. At most I have used it for frying (and that even made me cringe) but I am incapable of using them raw, on salads or drizzling them over meat or fish. So for “raw” oils I will always go to Carrefour. Mercadona is much the same story although better than Consum. But neither offers great olive oils that will really enhance your dishes or give you satisfaction just dipping bread into it.

This review will save you a lot of time and money as you can go straight to the best five olive oils without messing around and enjoy a range of different flavours and intensities. Obviously I haven’t tried every olive oil in Carrefour but I have tried quite a few but I am not a fan of white branded olive oils so I don’t tend to buy them ever as I am yet to have a pleasant experience with one and you never know where it really came from.

So, lets not beat around the bush and let's get on with the oils. I have made a selection of the best 5 oils, which have been available at Carrefour over the last year at least, so they are regular tenants and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them. There is no point rating them against each other as some are different varieties and different categories altogether, so I have organised  them by flavour intensity so it will be easier to choose the right one for you. Personally I prefer robust herbaceous olive oils but others may prefer delicate oils, which are not bitter or peppery in the slightest. The following table will guide you through the oils and the category column displays the flavour intensity and strength of the oil as well as giving an idea of the colour even though that has no relevance to the flavour. I have included photos and the shelf price to help you identify them in the supermarket as well. They are all fantastic olive oils and you can’t go wrong with any of them. They may seem expensive compared to your average supermarket oil but when you taste them you will immediately understand why they cost what they cost. On average 8 to 10 kg of olives are needed to make 1 litre of these olive oils so they are not cheap to make and the quality controls are extensive so when you compare them to the price of a good wine which is drunk in 30 minutes, I would say they are excellent value.

Good luck and get tasting!! (All of them are award winning Olive Oils)

  ORO BAILÉN Y MELGAREJO

 

   

LAGUNA DE FUENTE DE PIEDRA                DAURO

 

  ABBAE DE QUEILLES

 

Other popular articles by Ian Mackay ©

Go to article: The World of Olive Oil - Introduction-Part 1

 

Go to article: The World of Olive Oil- Olive Oil Categories-Part 2

 

Go to article: The World of Olive Oil - How to recognise an authentic extra virgin olive oil - Part 3

 

Go to article: The World of Olive Oil - Olive Oil Tasting - Part 4

 

Go to article: The World of Olive Oil - True Virginity - Part 5

 

Go to article: Can I fry with Oilve Oil?

 

Go to article: The World of Olive Oil - The perfect Crime Scene - Part 6

 

Go to article: The World of Olive Oil - Harvesting Olives - Part 7

 

Go to article: Spanish Cured Ham-What you need to know

 

 

 

 

 



Like 0        Published at 19:12   Comments (26)


Food,Wine,Food and more Wine
12 April 2013

 

                             

 

This Sunday was one of those afternoons that make Spain really worthwhile! Fantastic weather plenty of food, plenty of wine and plenty of laughs. In Valencia’s converted riverbed was the local wine and artisan food fair held here every year and a must for anyone who appreciates good food and great wine or just wants to get legless…there’s quite a lot of walking to do :)

Actually, as you may know, my soft spot is olive oil and my reason for going was initially to participate in an olive oil tasting session. However unfortunately this year the olive oils on show weren’t anything worth jumping up and down for, good, but nothing special, so unfortunately nothing to recommend this time on that front. Feeling greatly let down by the poor turn out of “extra virgins” it was time to move onto other culinary delights and I can assure you there were many worth mentioning.

10 euros bought you a ticket that was valid for 4 glasses of wine and 4 tapas, so all in all it wasn’t bad at all considering the quality and variety of the food and wine on offer. So we bought a couple of “tickets” per person and we set off on our afternoon walk. Green tickets were for food and red tickets were for wine but after having eaten as much as we could, we soon started trading green for red!

The atmosphere in the fair was wonderful, fresh food being served at the stands and eaten immediately while you stood around a converted wine barrels for tables and washing it all down with fantastic wines from the region. Naturally we had to try most of them, reds: Shirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo etc. Whites, Rose´s and dessert wines, but of all the wines we tasted there were two clear winners. The general consensus was (and we had a few experts amongst us) :

 
Best white wine in the fair :  "BAHIA DE DENIA"  from Bodegas Xaló (sweet/dry)

 

A wonderfully fruity wine without being too sweet although it is made from the Moscatel de Alejandria variety normally used for dessert wines this wine was incredibly similar to an Albariño from the Rias Baixas. Very well balanced, fresh,delicate  and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Highly recommendable for drinking on its own or with seafood.

 

Best red wine in the fair : "TRILOGIA" from Bodega Los Frailes (organic)

   

Grape varieties : Monastrell 70%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20% and Tempranillo 10%

It is aged 12 months in Hungarian oak barrels and only the best pre-selected grapes are used.

Notes: Intensive dark black cherry color. Powerful and elegant on nose with aromas of black and red fruits, dark chocolate enriched by toasty and spicy notes. Full, powerful attack,refined tannins. In the mouth, fresh herbs and ripen fruits, coffee and well-structured with refined notes of liquorice and spicy flavours. Very persistent. This complex wine matches very well with any red meat dish, cheese, lamb, or game dish. Really wonderful, a true competitor for any renowned Ribera del Duero.

I must also mention a fantastic liquor made by Bodega's Xaló. It was their raisin dessert liquor "Riu Rau". It was pleasantly different to anything I had tried before, not too sweet but a wonderful balance between sugar, alcohol and moscatel raisins which are sundried on their land. However it wasn't cheap by Spanish standards for a liquor, around 11 euros a bottle, but worth every cent. We didn't actually pay anything while tasting but we did crawl home with a bottle! I highly recommend it. It would make a great ending to a meal.

     Riu Rau

Apart from wines and liquors we also managed to try some excellent artisan beer. To be honest I was really surprised to see the number of small artisan breweries that have popped up around the region in the past couple of years. Some really great beer miles, better than anything you'd pick up at your local.  Moving away from alcohol now..although we never really did...the fair offered a wide range of food produce such as organic cheese, Cati Cheese had the most magnificent stall, farmers who produce their own milk and make exceptional cheeses of all descriptions and have won numerous World Cheese Awards. Also on display were cured meats and sausages from Requena, clochinas (valencian mussels), homemade chocolate from the centenary chocolate factory in Sueca, "Comes" and so much more. Being a Valencian fair, rice and paellas weren't a miss. The Valencian School of Rice (Escuela Valenciana del Arroz) were showing off their skills and new recipes. We tried a baby calamar and "young garlic" (ajos tiernos) paella as well as a pork and wild mushroom paella, both were out of this world and cooked to perfection. I am seriously thinking of doing a specialist rice cooking course there, they are real professionals. By this point we had eaten, drunk, eaten again and then repeated the circuit several times, only each time we went round it seemed to get longer and longer, not sure if that was the eating or the drinking or just the sheer number of people there...no.. it was definitely the drinking. With nothing left to try, we returned to Xaló to finish up with yet another raisin dessert liquor and finally a coffee, which wasn't from Valencia funnily enough but was just what we needed for the trip home.

    

   


So next year if you're in Valencia this time of year you must pay a visit to the food and wine fair, a great afternoon out, just make sure you've got someone to drive you home or that the hotel isn't too far away!



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