Olives and Olive Oil
Portugal has long been known for its olive trees, which have long been revered for their production of world-renowned olive oil. Thanks to the favorable conditions provided by nature and climate conditions in Portugal, olive oil production continues to thrive today!
Portuguese black olives make a delectable snack or appetizer, especially when combined with cheeses, crostini and red pepper spread to create the ideal mealboard presentation.
Early Life and Education
Olive oil has long been a cornerstone of Portuguese cuisine, from grilled sardines and Bacalhau a Lagareiro to several traditional Portuguese dishes that wouldn’t exist without this golden liquid.
In 2004, Joaquim purchased his own olive farm in Minho region of central Portugal and set out to create the finest olive oil possible. He attended agriculture classes and learned everything possible about making delicious olive oil before planting his own trees – now including centuries-old specimens in some groves – as well as experimenting with hybrid varieties to find what suits him best and even building one of the world’s most advanced mills himself.
Olive oil is a source of pride for Portuguese who make it. “Olive oil is an extremely healthy fat,” states Jorge de Melo, president of Sovena which owns brands such as “Oliveira da Serra” and ‘Andorinha”. Additionally, its inclusion as the cornerstone of Mediterranean diet was recently inscribed by UNESCO on their Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Every step in this industry thrives on professionalism – from olive groves and mills, through production plants and production lines, production facilities and testing oil with cobalt blue glasses which must meet exacting industry white paper standards in order to ensure consistent results, according to Curtis Cord, founder of Olive Oil Times.
Achievement and Honors
Portugal, as a founding member of the International Olive Council and one of the leading producers of olive oil in the world, boasts one of the main olive groves spread across its territory and pride of production is evident. Olive oil consumption forms an integral component of Mediterranean diet which was inscribed onto UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
At the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, Portuguese producers won more gold and silver medals than any other nation. Herdade do Esporao from Alentejo region won three awards for its delicate Cordovil and Cobrancosa blends, attributing this success to its native cultivars, local terroir, and dedicated employees – elements which helped set its olive oils apart from competitors.
Olives are an iconic Portuguese staple and frequently the first thing that appears on any table or restaurant menu. Their delicious crunchiness and healthy attributes make them the ideal snack or appetizer to pair with bread – they even pair well when dunked into olive oil!
Olives were first brought to Portugal around 1st Century BC by Phoenicians or Greeks and quickly became part of local diet. Olives thrived in Portugal’s harsh terrain and could be quickly cultivated for harvest.
Portugal is one of the world’s leading olive producers and boasts many picturesque olive groves and farms – some are open for visitors – as well as offering tours of their traditional olive oil press.
Olives are an irresistibly delicious treat that make for the perfect snack or appetizer, or can even be used as an ingredient in cooking. Renowned for their many health benefits, olives come in black olives, green olives or marinated varieties to suit every palate and occasion.
Portugal ranks among the leading producers of olive oil worldwide, alongside Spain, Italy and Greece. Portugal’s olive oils feature high concentrations of oleic acid while also possessing low levels of saturated fat.
Norte Santo noted that while France currently boasts six olive oils and table olives with Protected Designation of Origin – including those produced in Tras-os-Montes region – rising raw material costs and labor costs are posing challenges to traditional growers, exacerbating longer term issues related to labor shortage. These short-term issues have exacerbated issues like labor shortage in agriculture.