Portuguese olive oil is among the best in the world. From Trás-os-Montes to Alentejo Portugal always had the best crops of olives and is recognized for its ancestral techniques in the production of a high quality certified olive oil. One of the first exported products in Portugal the olive oil is the healthy fat mostly used in Portuguese cuisine.
The Mediterranean region alone is responsible for 95% of world production of olive oil, due to its climate.Portugal produces 37% of the total European Union production (Spain 36%, Italy 14% and Greece 10%).
Currently there are 6 protected designations of origin: Moura, Trás os Montes, Interior and Northern Alentejo, Ribatejo and Beiras. Alentejo olive oil is the major producing region in Portugal followed byTrás-os-Montes.
With the Portuguese discoveries, olive oil was exported on a bigger scale and in the mid-sixteenth century, the consumption had grown intensely as the oil was used as fuel for lighting with the main markets being in northern Europe and India.
Most olive trees were planted in vines regions in an attempt to bring in an income for those people who stayed on the lands. Consequently today groves of grey-green olive trees can be seen along the vineyards all over the regions bringing a beautiful yet sober look to the valleys.
It is one of the oldest and most used elements in Portuguese cuisine. In addition to the known health benefits, olive oil adds a valuable touch of peculiar flavour.
Old Olive Oil grindstone: