Have you ever taken a trip that influenced the trajectory of your life or decisions?
For the Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars team, that trip was over to Spain this fall. This week-long adventure incorporated much to see, learn, experience and taste. The traveling team included representatives from each FOV store and the School of Cooking.
So much was packed into the week of travel, work, tasting - and a lot of walking.
As a result of what they saw and experienced, the traveling team is so much more aware of how important it is to have the freshest olive oil. They also confirmed that the source used in Spain is dedicated to creating and providing the freshest product possible.
The FOV “Select” olive oil is what the team saw being harvested and milled with their own eyes. This oil will be greener, have more of a “black pepper” finish and is higher in polyphenols. The olives in this oil require a more intense harvest process and has a lower oil yield. That makes this oil a rare premium olive oil that the team has “selected” themselves.
While one of the main goals was to experience this select olive oil, the team also learned and explored the amazing country of Spain and its rich culture. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the things the team saw and experienced during their week in Spain.
After a long flight across the Atlantic and a lot of travel, one of the team’s first experience was an authentic tapas and history tour through a portion of Madrid. Through the art of food, they explored and enjoyed just a taste of what the beautiful city of Madrid has to offer. Of course, many of what they tasted and experienced included olive oil right from Spain.
The second day in Madrid featured a tour through the Prado Museum where the team could learn and experience the culture and history of where the specialty single varietal olives come from.
The day concluded with a fun and upbeat Flamenco performance, which is a traditional Spanish dance.
From Madrid the team traveled over to Baeza near Jaén to get a deep dive experience of oil fields and culture.
They visited the Olive Culture Museum to grow in their knowledge of oil harvest, production and how little the process has changed over thousands of years.
They also ventured out into the vast fields of olive trees that extend as far as they could see. In fact, they discovered that Jaén and the surrounding area has over 66 million olive trees. That’s a lot of olives!
From the fields to the mill, the team witnessed the amazing process of turning olives into olive oil.
They visited Terra Oleum, an olive research and educational facility. Like they would do in the store, they tasted and tried a variety of oils from different presses to better understand the differences in oil varieties and ages of the crush. Through a “mini milling” demonstration, they discovered how fast olive “paste” will begin to oxidize, even before the oil is extracted.
After the olive fields, the team visited an olive mill where Fustini’s olive oil is milled. They were able to watch the whole process from start to finish. The process, which took about 90 minutes, included olives being delivered by trucks to tasting freshly crushed olive oil. What they found truly amazing was how fast olives go from being on the tree to being harvested and pressed. For EVOO in Spain, freshness is a top priority.
In addition to being able to see the process of olive oil pressing, they also experienced the freshness of oil at mealtimes during the trip. With a chef and food-inspired travelers, the team paid close attention to the olive oil used in meals. They discovered new, innovative ways to incorporate olive oil into the traditional and cultural dishes they tried. With their experience in tasting fresh oil, they could also easily tell when the bottle of oil on their table was bad or old.
Córdoba - The journey to Cordoba included a tour of Los Patios de Córdoba, a source of family life and entertaining in Spanish culture. It was interesting to learn how flowers and water features were used to keep the area cool in the heat of summer.
Granada Alhambra - The team took in the history and culture of Granada Alhambra as they headed south. The views from the ancient palaces overlooking the city are truly amazing.
Malaga - The last stop on their trek through Spain was a city right on the coast of the Mediterranean at the seaport of Malaga. Fresh seafood and fresh olive oil - it can’t be beat!
What an exciting, inspiring and enlightening week it was. While the team loved their time in Spain, they were also eager to return home to take what they learned and bring it to the Fustini’s experience for their customers, employees and partners. The fresh “Select” olive oil is available at your favorite Fustini’s location, starting the week of November 18.
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