Olive Tourism in Portugal: Discover Portugal’s Liquid Gold
All that glitters is not gold. But at Portuguese tables, olive oil is without a doubt one of the most precious treasures. Profusely used throughout Portuguese cooking, from the simple tiborna (warm bread dipped in olive oil) to the best imaginable companion to a delicious codfish dish, it really is everywhere. And in the country’s landscape too, as graceful olive trees grow from North to South of Portugal. In addition to wine tourism, olive tourism is one of the most special experiences to discover in Portugal. And a great way of immersing yourself in Portugal with all your senses and all your heart.
The Extra Virgin Life: Olive Tourism in Portugal
Olive oil is the main ingredient of the super healthy and tasty Mediterranean diet. As Claudia Villax, author of a beautiful, award-winning book about olive oil, “Living the Extra Virgin Life”, claims, “Olive oil is the best superfood in the world”. It’s very rich in antioxidants and vitamins, olive oil is also the healthiest fat on earth. This book really has everything you need to know about olive oil (including some mouthwatering recipes). But for a truly immersive experience, you really have to taste it and feel it. With Episode Travel, you can set out to discover the essence of this fabulous produce, and the beautiful stories behind it, in a tailor-made olive tour in Portugal.
The Diverse Landscape of Olive Tourism in Portugal
Grassy or bitter, fruity or sweet, Portuguese olive oils are incredibly varied. Utterly golden or in a greenish yellow color, olive oils are always a delight to the senses. With such a variety, it might be hard to choose just one. The one thing all specialists seem to agree upon is that you should always look for an extra-virgin olive oil.
And there are plenty of options, as Portugal has no less than 6 regions with Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) where olive oil is produced. The fact that in the region of Alentejo alone there are 3 different DOP – Moura, Alentejo Interior and Norte Alentejano – says a lot about the richness and variety of Portuguese olive oils.
The Oliveira (Olive tree) is in itself a symbol of Alentejo, but if you travel North, for example to Trás-os-Montes, you will also find olive cultivation and olive oil production, mostly concentrated in the so called “Terra Quente” (Hot Land). This mountainous region is of great beauty, and also the cradle of some of the best olive oils in Portugal.
From Farm to Table: Olive Tourism in Portugal
In Portugal, olive oil is much more than the “juice” of the olive tree. It’s a world, and a culture. Much like wine, the quality of the olive oil is deeply connected to the soil. The variety of the olives used (and there are many in Portugal, from the tiny and tasty Galega, that only grows here, to the zesty Cordovil), the type of cultivation and the extraction method result in different types of olive oils. From early-morning olive picking to learning all about extraction and blends, from a visit to a traditional olive press (Lagar) to a stunning state-of-art olive mill, such as the one designed by Portuguese architect Ricardo Bak Gordon in Alentejo, your tailor-made olive tour in Portugal will be memorable! And don’t forget the olive on the cake: a fantastic sampling of the most delicious gold in the world!