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Jaén, World Capital of Olive Oil

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Jaén, World Capital of Olive Oil

 

Olive oil was introduced to Spain by the Greeks and Phoenicians. Its name derives from the Arabic word “Al-Zait” which means olive juice. Today, its production, which is obtained from the sea of olive trees that spreads along the city and the province, makes Jaén the World Capital of Olive Oil. 

The province is covered by more than 60 million olive trees. Therefore, 78% of the agricultural area in Jaén is used for growing olives. Jaén owns 550 000 hectares of olive groves, which means that 25% of Spanish soil contains olive groves and 42% of Andalusian soil does. This accounts for 50% of the total national olive oil production and more than 20% of the world’s total production of olive oil.

Jaén’s olive groves mainly produce a type of olive called picual, which is used to make extra virgin oil of excellent quality. This type of oil is distinguished by its aromatic, fruity, bitter and slightly spicy taste. If the oil is made from olives harvested early in the season, its aroma is that of freshly cut grass. On the contrary, if it is made from mature olives it produces and aroma similar to that of the banana or the fig tree.

Olive oil is a food source that contributes to good health, and although it is used primarily in the gastronomic field, as a major element of the Mediterranean diet, it also has plenty of cosmetic and therapeutic properties. This is because olive oil is rich in essential fatty acids, such as oleic acid, which helps to lower blood cholesterol and has antioxidant properties, such as vitamin A and polyphenols. These delay skin aging by protecting and toning the skin. 

As the world capital of olive oil, Jaén has many events related to olive oil and the olive tree. One highlight is the International Fair of Olive Oil and Allied Industries EXPOLIVA, which is the most important event in this field worldwide. Jaén’s capital becomes the global epicentre of the olive production sector, every two years, as well as, a meeting point for the promotion of our gastronomic treasure. This event brings together, for four days, professionals from all sectors of the world of olive oil, olive trees and the allied industries

Oil Mills close to Jaén that can be visited:

-Cooperativa San Pedro S. A. ( Fuente Redonda Street 3, Mengíbar)

-Cooperativa Virgen de la Capilla ( Puente de la Sierra Road)

-Aceites Melgarejo (Camino Real, Pegalajar)

Museums and Interpretation Centres in Jaén:

-Centro de Interpretación del olivar ecológico de Génave

-Centro de Interpretación olivar y aceite Comarca de La Loma

-Red Comercial de Almazaras oleo-turísticas

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