Last Friday, some 150,000 students across Spain’s Andalusía spent their class time savoring the region’s most traditional breakfast; toast drizzled with local extra virgin olive oil. The event formed part of Andalusia Day, a holiday that commemorates the region with music and dance, and lots of olive oil.
When it comes to breakfast in Andalusia, there is perhaps no more signature sustenance than a tostada con aceite, often topped with a layer of crushed tomato. In fact, across Spain it is common for locals to walk into any bar, café or even a gas station restaurant and order the iconic day-starter, which by default comes dripping with olive oil.
So, naturally, on the day that exalts all things Andalusia — the world’s leading region for olive oil production — liquid gold is an important part of the school program. The goal, according to the Andalusian government, is to educate and help preserve the region’s agricultural tradition by bringing classrooms closer to local products, particularly olive oil.
To that end, the Ministry of Agriculture provided schools across Andalucía with 7,650 bottles of extra virgin olive oil from the region of Sierra Mágina, which is located in the province of Jaén.
The activity, explained Andalusia’s president Carmen Ortiz, “demonstrates a healthy way of eating, which includes the Mediterranean diet, and it highlights one of the things we do best in Andalucía, which is the production of top quality food.”
This initiative is part of a program called Creciendo en Salud, or Growing in Health, which is carried out by the Ministry of Education. Its overall objective is to encourage a variety of healthy habits, including good nutrition. Along with olive oil, the program also advocates for the consumption of local fruits and vegetables.
Olive oil is a key component in Andalusia Day celebrations across the region; from schools to special hospital menus, to tastings at public recreation centers for the elderly.