` Ávila Tasting Room Showcases International Selection of Olive Oils - Olive Oil Times

Ávila Tasting Room Showcases International Selection of Olive Oils

Jun. 6, 2012
Naomi Tupper

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The ancient olive mill, La Moraleda, of Santa Cruz del Valle in Andalucia, Spain, has recently opened a new International Tasting Room as part of the exist­ing Museum of Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Mediterranean Countries.

The town is home to only 444 inhab­i­tants, but due to an ini­tia­tive from the city coun­cil and non-gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion, Gloria Olivae, the small com­mu­nity was put on the olive oil map in 2010 with the open­ing of the land­mark museum, which fea­tures tra­di­tional olive oil pro­cess­ing equipment.

The new cen­tre already houses 150 dif­fer­ent Spanish olive oil sam­ples, but aims to increase this num­ber to 2,500, with olive oils not only from Spain, but also other Mediterranean coun­tries and olive oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries worldwide.

It is hoped that there will be a per­ma­nent exhi­bi­tion estab­lished, show­cas­ing high-end olive oil sam­ples as part of a so called oil library” within the mill.

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President of Gloria Olivae, Manuel Ignacio Sánchez Fuentes, has stressed that whilst obtain­ing a large num­ber of sam­ples was impor­tant, qual­ity would also be a focus, and that the dis­play would help bring expo­sure and pub­lic­ity to good qual­ity olive oils from around the world.

It is also expected that the cen­tre will fea­ture as part of the Tiétar Valley Olive Oil Route, which is already in plan­ning stages. The cen­tre is hoped to be a meet­ing place for Mediterranean cit­i­zens, through the com­mon bond of olive grow­ing extra vir­gin olive oil and the Mediterranean diet.

Photos: Diario de Avila

A num­ber of activ­i­ties based around olive oil from vary­ing dis­ci­plines and approaches will be held at the cen­tre, includ­ing tast­ing, diet, gas­tro­nomic pair­ings and tar­geted lec­tures for the gen­eral pub­lic. In addi­tion to this, con­fer­ences and debates for experts and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the indus­try will also be held. Mediterranean diet and olive grow­ing train­ing courses will also be part of the program.

The open­ing of the cen­tre, which took place on the 20th of May, fea­tured tast­ings from high end pro­duc­ers such as Oro Bailén from Jaén, Masía El Altet from Alicante and a sin­gle vari­etal of the Sevillian Arbequina, Basilippo de la Hacienda Merrha.

Also avail­able to taste were tra­di­tional can­dies made from olive oil and local lemon­ade typ­i­cal to Santa Cruz del Valle. Visitors from the region and also from around Spain and the world, were also able to enjoy tra­di­tional music per­formed by local folk groups and indulge in a typ­i­cal dessert of the region, Sopetón, which con­sists of bread baked and soaked in olive oil, which is later coated in sugar and fresh orange juice.

The tast­ing room will also have a new human­i­tar­ian approach, in that it aims to set up a bank accept­ing dona­tions of olive oil to be sent to food banks, health projects and orga­ni­za­tions against hunger around the world.

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