LERIDA AND L'ESTORNELL ORGANIC
Both these distinctively nutty extra-virgin olive oils are made from 100 per cent Arbequina olives grown near to the smalltown of Sarroca deLleida in the northeastern corner of Spain.
Ninety-four years ago Don Domingo Vea bought the I original olive groves and founded the Vea company. His son Don Jose developed the organic approach which sets the estate apart from other growers in the region. Today, Avelino Vea is in charge and he is a Gran Catador, one of an elite few who are recognized for their tasting abilities.
The hills and valleys of Lerida are ideal for the cultivation of olives for the Mediterranean climate prevents temperatures from rising too high. If you visit the area follow 'La Ruta del Aceite', or oil route, along the country roads south of the provincial capital. The harvest starts in November and runs through to the end of January.
The Arbequina olives for Lerida and L'Estornell oils are harvested mainly by hand. The oil is extracted without pressure in the 'Sinolea' knife process. The early-picked olives go into Lerida Early Harvest extra virgin oil. UEstornell extra-virgin olive oil (nonorganic) is made up of 60 per cent Arbequina from the Vea estates and 40 per cent Farga from elsewhere.
The Lerida oil has a warm lemony and almond aroma with a touch of chocolate. The flavour is complex with undertones of grass and toasted nuts which builds to a fiery crescendo. The aftertaste offers an attractive mixture of sweetness and chocolate.
The award-winning UEstornell Organic oil has an equally interesting aroma with toasted nuts and chocolate. The flavour is equally nutty but softer and less assertive than the Lerida oil. The pepper is light and finish sweetly elegant.
Lerida Early Harvest extra-virgin olive oil
Lerida extra-virgin olive oil
L'Estornell Organic extra-virgin olive oil
L'Estornell extra-virgin olive oil
Arbequina, Fraga and Manzanillo olives in water and salt.
GREEN BEAN AND POTATO SALAD
Cook plenty of fresh green beans until just tender or al dente and steam the same quantity of new potatoes in their skins. Drain and mix the two vegetables and dress with plenty ofLerida or L'Estornell extra-virgin olive oil mixed with a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper and very finely chopped herbs. Leave to cool and serve lukewarm or cold. Change the flavour by changing the herbs. Try parsley, chervil, dill or oregano.