Aceite de las Sierras Espadán y CalderonaThe organic extra virgin olive oil Serrana Espadan is produced in the Sierra Espadan Nature Reserve located in the province of Castellon (Comunidada Valenciana, Spain). This is the main variety cultivated in the region of Serra Espadan, making up 9% of the cultivation in this area. It is rustic, strong and resistant to parasites and disease. The variety originated in Alto Palancia and adapted to the climate conditions of the area. This cultivar produces high-quality oil. The crown of the tree is open, irregular and medium in dimension; the leaves are an opaque green on the upper side, they have a long, lance shape (long and wide in the middle) and are not very large.The inflorescences (a group or cluster of flowers) are panicled (a branched cluster of flowers in which the branches are racemes).The matured fruit is black, asymmetrical and of medium dimensions; the shape is elliptical with slightly pointed ends. The trees of this variety start to produce fruit at an older age than other varieties, while the maturation of the fruit is premature and has little resistance to the fall. The varieties cultivated in the region are Morruda or Black and Arbequina (giving excellent quality oil); a still good quality oil can be produced from Canetera, Villalonga and Pictual varieties. The arable land dedicated to the cultivation of olive trees in the region is arid, with a strong slope and less productive than other cultivations. The main problem is the small size of the plots (average size is 0.5 hectares). This is because when the land is handed down it has been subdivided; the average size of each family plot is 2.5 hectares, this means each producer farms five different plots. There are 120 trees per hectare (10 x 12). Because of these factors, the cultivation is small and the price is high, but the terrain, climate and characteristics of the variety itself make oil of the highest quality. Traditionally the plant was reproduced by grafting onto a wild olive tree and then transplanting to cultivated land as the root system of wild trees is more resistant than cultivated varieties, but the latter produces more fruit. Oil is produced following many different steps: first comes the olive harvest, which can be done either manually or with machines, but it is forbidden to pick up the olives that have fallen to the ground. After transportation, where the olives are put into plastic cassettes or trailers (bags are not used because they would significantly damage the fruit) they are received by the mill where the quality of the olives is checked and cards are made certifying the origin. After separating the leaves and small stems, olives are ground on a stone mill. A paste is obtained and pulverized for an hour to an hour-and-a-half at 30 °C in order to easily extract the oil. Next the water is extracted from the oil using a centrifuge. The oil is then filtered to eliminate any solid residues. Oil is then left to natural decanting, stored in containers in order to get an even finer level of separation of any remaining water, olive or air residue. The oil must be protected from light, air and variations in temperature. Therefore the warehouse must maintain a temperature around 20°C and the oil must be kept in opaque closed containers in an inert atmosphere. After the separation, filtering and decanting there may still be residual humidity and impurities in the bottom of the containers. Decanting is necessary in order to avoid fermentation. Sierra Espadán olive oil has the following organoleptic characteristics, as the results obtained by the sensory analysis method known as COI indicates: o Average level and safe range related the attribute ‘fruity’: 4(2, 76-5,2) o Average level and safe range of the principle defects: 0.00 o Category: extra o Average level and safe range of the attribute ‘acidity’: 1.55 (1.13-1.97). o Average level and safe range for the attribute ‘salty’: 3.25 (2.22-4.28)
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