November 17, 2017

Made in Spain: Castillo de Canena Olive Oil

olive oil in Spain at Casillo de Canena

Castillo de Canena is the definition of quality Spanish olive oil.

Quality Over Quantity with Castillo de Canena

Spain is the biggest producer of olive oil in the world, so choosing which one to buy can be a nightmare if you are unfamiliar with the market. The first rule to buying liquid gold is to get away from the supermarket. It’s unfortunate, but few supermarkets carry good quality extra virgin olive oil, and even when the bottle says it’s extra virgin you can’t be sure.

Olive oil is a living substance, constantly changing, and most of the time for the worst! Unlike wine, you want your olive oil as young as possible. Luckily, the EU is becoming more and more strict about putting the harvest date on bottles of extra virgin oils, making it easier for the consumer to make an informed decision.

But if you want to skip the tedious research and long quest for a good extra virgin olive oil, there is a solution. Castillo de Canena is one of Spain’s most prestigious and award winning brands of olive oil. Its quality comes at a premium, as a half liter bottle costs around 10€, but it is well worth it.

Castillo de Canena's award winning olive oils.

Castillo de Canena’s award winning olive oils.

Every drop of Castillo de Canena’s olive oils is bursting with scents and flavors. Their most famous varietals are the spicy picual and the slightly more delicate arbequina. In addition to these reserve quality oils, Castillo de Canena also has a special “first day of the harvest” olive oil that is put into specially designed bottles, usually designed by a different celebrity every year (in 2012 the bottle was designed by Alejandro Sanz, a famous Spanish singer).

The moral of the story is that sometimes you just have to spend a little more– especially when you are representing Spain with a bottle of its pride and joy as a gift to friends and family. We keep a bottle of Castillo de Canena Picual to spoil ourselves with delicious weekend tostadas or to drizzle on fresh salads or gazpacho.

Tips for Buying and Storing a Quality Olive Oil

  • Get out of the supermarket and into a specialty shop
  • Never buy from a shop that is shining bright lights on their olive oils– especially when the bottles aren’t opaque
  • Look for a harvest date on the bottle (unfortunately many amazing producers don’t put one, but it’s becoming more common)
  • Only buy unfiltered olive oil if you know it was recently bottled and you’ll consume it within a month
  • Don’t keep your bottle near the hot stove– heat is EVOO’s enemy!
  • Consume your oil within a year’s time, and as quickly as possible after opening (oxygen is another EVOO enemy)
  • Never buy anything but Virgin or (preferably) Extra Virgin olive oil, unless you want to eat what was once considered lamp oil!

Tip: If shopping for olive oil in Madrid, check out the small shop Museo de Aceite. The lovely owner Fernanda carries the best olive oils in Spain and in addition to Castillo de Canena will let you try many other amazing varieties!

Have you discovered an amazing Spanish olive oil? Leave your recommendations in the comments and share the EVOO love!

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