Detlev Von Rosen, who produced one of the world’s best olive oils on his farm in Algarve, Portugal, has died. He was 80 years old.
Von Rosen fled Germany with his family from Estonia to Sweden when the Russian army invaded, according to a neighbor, Arthur van Amerongen. In the late sixties, Von Rosen moved to Algarve, the southernmost region of continental Portugal, where he started a nursery before producing olive oil.
Oleologist Nicholas Coleman, who visited Von Rosen recently said in his newsletter that Von Rosen began with oranges but became dismayed by the amount of water necessary for the crop.
Three Monterosa olive oils have been awarded at every New York International Olive Oil Competition since the event began in 2013, including the coveted Best in Class Award in 2014 for the Macanilha de Tavira.
Van Amerongen said in a blog post that Von Rosen was rumored to have taken his own life. “I am surprised because he always made a very cheerful and lively impression on me,” Van Amerongen wrote.
“I’ve got a few Monterosa olive oil bottles,” Van Amerongen said, “but I yank them open only on very special occasions. Then the guests can taste a few drops and I put the bottles back behind bars. After all, not all days are a feast.”