HISTORY OF OIL

OIL is nowadays an indispensable part of our diet. It can be obtained from different fruits which give rise to different types of oils, all of which are beneficial to the body.

Especially significant among them is olive oil. It is the most important of edible oils due to its great benefits for the body and its unrivalled aroma, flavour and texture.

Its use in cooking brings added value to food and it is most used in the Mediterranean diet in which it provides a unique fragrance and flavour for its dishes.

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More than 4,000 years ago, olives were introduced into Spain by the Phoenicians who brought them from east, a trading people who began to cultivate the trees in Cadiz and Seville. Subsequently under the Romans growing olives spread throughout the peninsula, flooding the fields of Tarragona and the valleys of the south. The Romans arranged and systematised olive cultivation and production as they conquered fresh territories and they studied the soil and planted trees where conditions were most suitable.

Later on the Arabs improved the way oil was produced, with the Spanish word for oil (aceite) coming from the Arabic "az-zait" (olive juice). It was they who introduced and acclimatised their varieties in southern Spain.

They also brought in new techniques for obtaining oil and gave it its unchallenged place in cooking, using it for frying, as a preservative or seasoning. They built the mills which processed and produced oil.

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The fruit of an olive tree is the olive which yields a juice full of nectar and fragrances with unique flavours.

This "liquid gold" has now become a very important part of our culture and our Mediterranean diet.

The best example of this oil is extra virgin olive oil.

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