June 23rd, 2013

“Olive Oil, Please!”

At least once a week, our group has gone on excursions throughout Córdoba and its surrounding areas. In the past two weeks I’ve seen so much more that I expected to, but last Friday, June 14th, the group headed to the place where Nuñez de Prado olive products are created.

It’s difficult to fully grasp how many olives there are in this world until you visit an olive oil factory. The trip to this factory was a sight to see itself, with open lands and neighborhoods on hills, but once we reached a stretch of land with thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of olive trees, we were all in a bit of shock. For miles, we saw space solely dedicated to a food I once viewed as pizza toppings, dip for my bread, and a martini accessory. There were olive trees everywhere!

Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly my the owner of this company and given a tour of the facilities. We started in the fermentation room and made our way to an “olive oil cave”. In this space, the huge silver “vueldes” – which have been around since the 1860s – begin to refine the olive product (which is completely organic as the farm has not used preservatives since 1960). At this point, one can begin to make the olive oil or refine the fermented product into cosmetics and other non-edible products.

Finally, we arrived to the packaging room (left) where five men were working to hand-seal each bottle of olive oil. The owner explained that everything is done manually here. With no computers to keep count of how much product is made or where it exports to, there is no chance of system breakdowns or information loss. This system has works since 1944.

At this point, we were all amazed bythe work ethic and detailed productivity of the Nuñez de Prado system. There was even a 500-year-old olive tree on their land (right)!

However, we were even more surprised by the fabulous meal that they served us. Our three-course breakfast included: a bread entre that could be topped with olive oil, tomatoes ham, cod, and/or Manchego cheese, fried eggs with potatoes in the style of the chef on sight, and finally an orange with olive oil, honey, and a type of sweet biscuit to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. This only further proved to me how universal this product was. You can mix it with fruit and honey and have no complaints from me.

Here are some pictures from that visit:

In Spain, they take their olive oil seriously. This trip gave us a point of view of how important their production is here and throughout the rest of the world. To pick up some Nuñez de Prado products, join me in Spain! – or you could find some in a local Whole Foods!

Enjoy,

Lidia

 

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