Spain cultivates more than 200 varieties of olives, which means a rich heritage that offers great culinary possibilities. More popularly known varieties such as verdial, manzanilla, arbequina or aloreña coexist with other more unknown or local ones such as alfafara, carrasqueno de Alcaudete, ocal, small from Casas Ibánez or morrut.
As the varieties are linked to a territory, we have the Andalusian, Extremadura, Valencian, Castilian and Catalan. To start getting to know them better, we will look at some varieties that are grown in Catalonia.
The arbequina is the most characteristic of this territory, although it is also cultivated in Alto Aragón and at present in practically the entire State. It gives a very fluid and sweet oil, with almost no spicy or bitter flavors, and with aromas of fruits.
The morrut or morruda is grown in the Baix Ebre-Montsià region, between Tarragona and Castellón, and is one of the varieties, together with the sevillenca and the farga, from the DO Oli del Baix Ebre-Montsià. Its oil is very fruity, with a noticeable spicy point, a slight bitterness and almond and green apple flavor.
The sevillenca is grown in Tarragona and Castellón and produces a very fruity sweet oil, slightly bitter and quite spicy, with a green apple and banana flavor, while the farga, which is grown in the same area and also in Lleida, gives an oil intense flavor, with a flavor of nuts.
The empeltre, typical of Aragon, is also grown in Tarragona, the Balearic Islands, Castellón and Navarra. It is one of the varieties that has spread the most throughout the Peninsula and its name comes from the Catalan word ‘empelt’ (graft). Its oil is sweet, very fruity, with slight bitterness and spiciness and flavor of green apple and almond.
Other more local Catalan varieties are the panisello, grown in the Baix Ebre region and which gives a medium fruity oil, with a balance between green and ripe and between sweet and bitter, and a spicy touch; the becarut, grown in the regions of Alt Penedès, Baix Llobregat and Vallès Occidental, with a medium yield in oil, which is fruity more ripe than green and very sweet, or the argudell, the main variety of the Oli de l’Empordà PDO, that gives a fruity oil of intense green, spicy and bitter.