The air in Osuna, Spain was so thick with the scent of olive oil that we’d often pause stop during our walks through town to take deep breaths just to savor the invisible delicacy.
Osuna, the Andalucian town 90 minutes from Seville, is in the midst of The Land of Olives. Lucky for us that our November visit was during harvest. (This tree at the Santa Teresa Company’s 1881 Olive Oil plant is more than 100 years old.)
Spain is the world’s leading olive oil producer with more than 300 million olive trees and groves that cover more than five million acres - 80% of the total crop is grown in Andalucia.
Trucks stacked high with branches laden with olives rumbled along the city’s narrow streets as they made their way to one of several olive oil processing plants.
In Osuna more than 250,000 kilograms of olives are refined every day and 30 million liters of oil are bottled each year.
There were simply enormous amounts of olive oil. . .as evidenced by these storage tanks and the tanker trucks at Coreysa’s olive oil plant an easy walk from our hotel.
Coreysa was founded in 1917 by Daniel Espuny Aleixendri, whose family in the 14th Century owned oil mills in Northern Spain’s Catalonia region. He worked his way to Osuna and started what today continues to be a family operation, today it is run by his grandchildren and their children.
Across town at another processing plant, the entry gate displays the generations who’ve carried on the family’s oil production since it was begun by Daniel Espuny Aleixendri.
We often buy a couple of bottles of wine to bring back from our travels but this trip the wine was left behind to make room in the suitcases for the olive oil.
These bottles now have a place of honor on our kitchen counter. Not only is the oil superb for eating, but its taste – and smell – are great reminders of our short stay in The Land of Olives.
For those of you cooks out there: the larger 500ml bottle cost a bit over $4US in Osuna (back home at our neighborhood grocery similar Spanish oil sells for $28). The smaller bottle was a gift from the fellows I wrote about in an earlier post who introduced us to gourmet tapas.
Note: Today is Travel Photo Thursday so head to Budget Traveler’s Sandbox for more photos from bloggers around the world.