One of the products that I miss in my work trips around the world is a good olive oil (and a good vinegar made off wine). It is depressing when I have to eat a salad with a bland and cristal clear olive oil dressing. It exceedingly upsets me to go to Spanish restaurants, of supposedly good quality and find a tipical Spanish tomato salad dressed with this sort of substitute olive oil.
All this is a prelude to begin today post about my passion for a good olive oil (being wine my other greatest passion): the first (or one of the first) tourable oil press in Spain, Almazara Campopineda.
Nowadays the so called enotourism is trendy and there are many people who have been able to enjoy the wonderful experience of a winery tour. I hope for this experience to be spread around so that we start giving credit to another of our Spanish gourmet products: virgin olive oil. I would love to see that people started to taste olive oil and were able to differentiate olive varieties (Arbequina, Picual, Hojiblanca, etc.) and started to visit our “Almazaras” (oil press factories).
At Almazara Campopineda, a small but modern family oil press in Piñar (Granada), our dreams come true! We can discover the whole production process of the olive oil, starting from the reception of olives, their cleaning, press, beating, decantation, storing of the oil in huge steel deposits and the bottling in gorgeous crystal bottles.
The oil press is “tourable” and you can also buy the olive oil in the shop at the premises (recently an online retail web has been implemented), where you will find olive oil sold in different formats (crystal bottles, plastic containers, wooden packages) and different sizes (5l, 2l, 1l, 750mil, etc). You can also purchase Campopineda cosmetics, made off oil from their oil press. I have tried the lip balm and the hand cream and they are incredible good.
The mail olive type they use is the tasty Picual, from which we can purchase extra virgin olive oil or “first year oil press” (from olives recollected in October, when olives are no so ripe and have more intense aroma, producing lower quantity of oil but an intense green olive oil, perfect for salads and for tasting with bread). All the olives pressed in this almazara are cold pressed (non-heated pressing) with no chemical additives which guaranties an exceptional quality (though the olive oil productivity is lower). They also press oil from Arbequina olives, which is lighter and more fruity.
Moreover, this year they have pressed oil from the olive trees of the Alhambra, which are a not so common variety “Luciano”.
For the 2011 year first oil press, in October, the Almazara was visited by the Agriculture Counselor of the Andalusian Regional Government, by Granada´s Mayor and it even made it on the news and on channel Cuatro TV (Four TV).
The oil press also has a bar and restaurant service, with tasty plates as battered cod. The red meat is also first quality, though you will have to remind them to cook it raw if that is your preference. The servings are of tremendous size, so you have to be careful when you order. Among the homemade desserts I recommend the rice pudding. The wine list is incredible and the wine prices are ridiculously low, you will even find wine from Vega Sicilia winery (Pintia from Toro region – one of my favourites – Alion and Unico) being the price lower to the El Corte Ingles prices!! (El Corte Ingles is the biggest and most famous Spanish department Store).
The restaurant also has a very nice terrace with view to the olive orchards and they also open for all type of social events (weddings, baptism, business events, guided tours, etc).
The building is surprisingly modern. Just in case anybody is interested, please find below the link to the architect studio that designed it.
Anyway, what I recommend everybody is to drop by the Almazara Campopineda and enjoy their aromatic first quality olive oil (their first year oil press is one of the best I have ever tasted and has an incredible green color).