One of the three basic columns on which the Mediterranean kitchen is based is, next to the bread and to the wine, the olive oil. On these three columns a gastronomical culture has been constructed in the countries that share the Mediterranean Sea. The bread is the most popular element, the wine contributes according to the gourmets the intellectual part and the oil with its flavour works as the supreme creator of the flavours.
The olive oil is the noblest fat to prepare best plates, its great flavour gives them great flavour and it contributes to its differentiator aroma. Its good manners and its touch of distinction include the most traditional plate and simplest ones. In the last years it has become something essential in the kitchen because the consumers value it more and even the most advanced are beginning to differentiate them and to appreciate its aroma and its flavour.
Its use in kitchen offers many variants, from its use with fish, to the emulsion of purees, or the sauce elaboration. Olive oil also enriches, rich in vitamin E and with antioxidant qualities, in good canned fish, cheese or slaughter meals.
The virgin olive oil is the unique eatable oil that has its own right to be named as natural product. Whereas all the other oils are put under chemical processes to darken or to clarify their flavors, the virgin olive oil, as it is a totally natural juice of fruit, obtained by the simple extraction in cold of the olive, it conserves the flavour, aroma and vitamins of the fruits from where it comes.
The territories of Jaén (Andalusia-Spain) offer the variety of picual olive, whose oil tastes more intense and fruity in comparison to the ones of other zones. The guest, therefore, who is not used to this extra virgin olive oil, will find it with more flavor and body.
As it could not less be, the popular gastronomy of Jaén intimately is related to the olive and the olive oil. It is very common the use of the olive of “verdeo” (green olive), black, crushed or cracked, conserved with traditional procedures in the mud containers called “orzas” for familiar use during the year.
And the olive oil is present actually nearly all the traditional dishes of the zone: on the soups, basic dishes of the daily feeding, the “pipirrana” (a kind of salad), “gazpacho”, or the conserves of back of oil pig. The “mareaos” chick-peas (crushed), the “ajoharina”, the potatoes in chopped garlic, the “gachamiga” and the “andrajos” are dishes that are characterized to use with simplicity basic foods: oil, flour and products of the kitchen garden.
We cannot either forget the baked goods of the zone that drinks of the juice of the olive: the “ochíos” with salt and paprika, denominated thus for being the eighth part of the mass of a bread, the cakes of mass of oil with “matalahúva” (a kind of wine), the “churros”, the “gachas” and the “hornazos”. To you can add the exquisite candies from the closing convents and other local peculiarities.
In the same way, the fact that the great majority of Spanish typical dishes have as essential ingredient the olive oil, it evidences that this liquid gold is not something that arrives more at our table like a product. It is part of a culture and a form to understand the kitchen. A balanced kitchen, rich in proteins and vitamins, and that begins to value itself in its right measure when comparing itself with the diets of neighboring countries.