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Olive Oil Varieties

To those that are new to the intricacies of olive oil, it may come as a surprise to learn just how many varieties there are. There are actually over 1,000 olive varieties, each with their own unique taste. In this blog, we aim to help you become a connoisseur by learning to appreciate the flavor differences of each. Of course there is no substitute for actually tasting these yourself. That’s also where we come in – we welcome you to stop by our store in Old Town, Albuquerque, and go on a tasting adventure.

First, let’s take a look at the varieties broken down by country of origin and percent of worldwide production. You have certainly seen several of these on our online shop or in store.

Spain
40-60%

Greece
10-20%

Italy
10-20%

Turkey
5-10%

Tunisia
3-10%

Picual

Koroneiki

Coratina

Ayvalik

Chemlali

Cornicabra

Athinolia

Leccino

Memecik

Chetoui

Hojiblanca

Myrtolia

Frantoio

Erkence

El-guim

Arbequina

 

 

Gemlik

 

Leehin

 

 

 

 

Morisca

 

 

 

 

Empeltre

 

The major tree types we carry at Old Town Olive are picual, coratina, hojiblanca, arbequina, and frantoio. Arbequina, hojiblana, and picual are from Spain. Coratina and frantoio are from Italy.

Arbequina oil, a smooth, fruity oil, is ideally used uncooked, since its aromatic substances are quite volatile, and goes well with vegetables and grilled fish.

Hojiblanca oil, a green and floral oil, is loved as a frying oil, but is also great for making bread, pasta, and pastries.

Picual oil, a green tomato leaf and creamy green tea tasting oil, is another beloved frying oil, though it is also well served in salads and gazpachos.

Coratina oil, a peppery and green herbaceous oil, is well suited as a “boost” to simple dishes like tomato and mozzarella, bruschetta, or grilled vegetables, and also does well as a base for marinades.

Frantoio oil, a fruity with a slight pepper flavor variety, is ideally paired with fish, either steamed or marinated.

Beyond the actual variety, another key factor in olive oil taste is, of course, freshness. For olive oil production there are two harvests per year for olives, one in the spring in the northern hemisphere and one in the fall in the southern hemisphere. We always list the crush date of our olives for our Extra Virgin Olive Oil so you know exactly how fresh your olive oil will be.



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