THE PRODUCTION OF OLIVE OIL
IN THE ALENTEJO HAS ANCIENT ORIGINS
The earliest historical references date back to the time of Christ, and it was one of the most appreciated olive oils in the Roman Empire’s capital. Currently, the Alentejo produces more than 70% of the domestic olive oil, the Portuguese production being among the best in the world. In the municipality of Serpa, the importance of the olive grove culture is visible, in a landscape that is the living expression of the coexistence of both contemporary and traditional. Come and discover the extraordinary world of olive oil in the lands of Serpa.
IN RECENT YEARS
the Portuguese have been rediscovering the pleasure of using olive oil and the expansion of the olive groves across the country offers reason to believe that one of the main symbols of the Mediterranean identity is effectively back.
The Alentejo Olive Oil is produced from traditional regional varieties - mainly Galega, Cordovil de Serpa, Verdeal or Cobrançosa - in the ideal maturation stage to obtain fruity and soft olive oils, produced solely by mechanical processes.
It has a fruity aroma, slightly or nothing bitter, slightly or nothing spicy, with dominant notes of apple, dried fruits, tomato, herb or leaf. These are the most notable organoleptic characteristics of this olive oil that has a prominent place in traditional gastronomy and in the Mediterranean diet.
The main ingredients of the most emblematic dishes of Alentejo gastronomy are olive oil, olives, Alentejo bread and herbs, all produced in the region and the basis of intense and surprising dishes such as açordas, gaspachos and soups.
© Estúdio Lemonnier
THE PRODUCTION IN SERPA
In Serpa, the production of olive oil has ancient origins, as proven by the vestiges of very old oil presses found in the region.
Between the millenarian tradition and the recent strong expansion of the intensive olive grove cultivation, that is where we find Serpa. The olive grove was the production that benefited the most from the availability of the water from the Alqueva dam. Serpa has some of the most important production areas in the country, with a strong tradition of production, where the methods of intensive production, integrated production and protection, biological and biodynamic production can be found.
The parishes of Pias, Vale de Vargo, Vila Verde de Ficalho, Brinches, S. Maria, Salvador and Vila Nova de S. Bento are part of the Azeite Moura (PDO) demarcated region; in recent years, producers from this region have won international awards.
© Maria Moreira
Raw material for the production of olive oil, the olive is also one of the emblematic products of local gastronomy, both at the municipal and regional level. With a long tradition as part of the diet of the people of the Alentejo, the olive is found at all tables, seasoned with salt and oregano, eaten with bread, cut and preserved.
© Eco Sapiens
© CMS, oliveira milenar
© Eco Sapiens
In the local commerce you can get more information and buy these products and, at the municipality’s restaurants, you can also taste several dishes and snacks made with olive oil.
We also recommend a visit to the Feira do Azeite [Olive Oil Fair], in Vale Vargo, which is held every two years and, in the near future, to the new museum dedicated to olive oil that the Municipality is installing in a former hydraulic oil press located in Vila Nova de S. Bento.
(click on the photos to check the credits)