The timeless magic of the annual olive harvest in Mallorca is underway.
Alongside fig and citrus trees, the ancient twisted trunks of the olive tree form the landscape of Mallorca .
From hillside terraces on mountain slopes in areas such as Valldemossa and Deiá to large lowland olive estates, the island’s groves are burgeoning with fruits this autumn.
Many small producers harvest by hand and process their olives through their local cooperative where the olives are weighed and processed and the oil sales shared with other farmers locally.
There are four varieties of olives grown across the island, Mallorquine, Empeltre, Arbequina and Picual. Some are produced exclusively such as the Arbequina on the Aubocassa Estate near Manacor, and some are blended in a similar way to grapes such as the Oli Solivellas in the Alcudia region which is a blend of the Arbequina and Picual olive.
There are several leading olive estates on the island, many of which are award winners who send their oils around the world.
Land for olive cultivation expanded in the 16th century, centred around the Tramuntana mountains, and Port de Sóller became the main port for export of the olives to France. ( The name Sóller is thought to derive from the Arabic “Suliar”, meaning gold, or liquid gold from the valley’s olives ! )
In fact the oldest olive oil producer in Mallorca is Can Det in Sóller, which regularly offer tours to visitors of their olive oil press.
Can Det first appears in records in the 16th century and apart from the addition of electricity, it still uses pretty much the same methods as 500 years ago!
Sóller has a second claim to fame in that studies have shown that the Olis de Sóller extra virgin oil made at the home of the Cooperativa Sant Bartomeu since 1899 is the only one of its kind to exhibit curative properties containing high levels of anti-oxidants and mono-unsaturated fatty acids offering protection against heart disease.
But enough about the olive oil harvest in Mallorca and its history and varieties; lets talk about consumption!
Olive oil is the central ingredient in the island´s diet and there is one particular traditional snack — Pa amb oli simply meaning “bread with olive oil” that you must try if you haven’t already.
Consisting simply of local wholemeal bread ( substitute with a sourdough ) rubbed with a cut clove of garlic. Then, cut a ripe tomato and rub that into the bread. Drizzle over some olive oil, pinch of sea salt and take a bite. The taste of Mallorca in an instant !
So if you cannot travel to magical Mallorca at the moment then re create the flavours in your own home and transport yourself to sunnier climes. See you soon !