As every other food we consume, the olive tree (olea europaea) also has a wild and untamed predecessor that was cultivated over millennia to yield bigger fruits, unfortunately losing some of its original flavour along the process.
The olive tree originated about 30 million years ago in what is now known as the eastern mediterranean basin, where around 5000 B.C. also its first cultivation took place. The wealth of the Minoan culture on the greek island of Crete (3000 B.C.) is believed to have come in great parts from the cultivation of the olive tree.
The wild olives can still be found in the oak, carob and pine forests of Andalusia. Here they are called “acebuche”, the latin name being olea europaea var. sylvestris or olea oleasta.
The fruits are very small and the output of one tree is minimal, so for one person to harvest the olives for one litre of oil can take several hours. The acebuche oil, however, is famed for its medicinal value, let alone its extraordinary taste.
This year in October and November we will swarm out into the woods to bring to you the absolute crown of olive oils. The quantity will, naturally, be extremely limited.
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