Extra virgin olive oil is an essential ingredient in the Mediterranean diet and is considered a true health balm for its heart-healthy properties. It is rich in monounsaturated fats and its polyphenols dilate the arteries and help reduce blood pressure. It also contains vitamins and antioxidants that help lower cholesterol.
Many people are concerned about their diet and health and want to make sure they buy good extra virgin olive oil, being wary of some offers in supermarkets of dubious national origin, or of those sold in flea markets and blends with few controls on purity and shelf life.
To be sure that the oil we are going to buy meets the desired quality, it is best to go directly to the producers, i.e. to the oil mills, which are very abundant in the olive-growing areas, where we can see in situ how this precious liquid gold that we have the privilege of enjoying in our country is produced. There we can taste it and choose the type of oil we like best and in the containers we need. Nowadays, the ease of transport makes it easier to buy it if we cannot travel to the place of origin and it will be delivered to our home.
At L’Espluga Calba we make extra virgin olive oil from 100% Arbequina olives, small in size and with an intense flavour. Harvested in the field at the peak of ripeness, they are washed to remove leaves and impurities and pressed immediately at our facilities. The oil we obtain, under the brand name Spelunca, is recognised by the Les Garrigues Denomination of Origin, and is one of the best both for its healthy properties and its delicious flavour, for which it has been awarded several prizes.
Our small village, with around 300 inhabitants, is like a large family that founded the Espluguense Cooperative in the middle of the last century to unite all the farmers in the production and marketing of its oil. On a visit to the Cooperative you can see both the old historical machines where the olives were pressed in the past, and the modern machinery that allows rapid and hygienic cold processing without losing their qualities.
In our area, the olive trees, some of which are hundreds of years old, grow far from industrial areas, in the heart of nature, in an environment rich in biodiversity, in mountainous terrain with a calcareous substratum and surrounded by pine forests and scrubland with aromatic plants such as rosemary and thyme, which give the oil its aromatic nuances. Our climate is contrasted, very hot in summer and cold in winter, and so the fruits come out with a powerful flavour. This year due to the drought and high temperatures we have had a lower harvest than expected and as we are sensitive to the economic situation we are in, we adjust the price so that we can make a living without abusing and everyone who wants a good oil can afford it, thus helping the continuity of a family and sustainable agriculture.