Travel in good taste: olive oil at high-speed
The train is one of my favorite ways of traveling in Spain especially in lieu of air travel. There is nothing worse than having to wait hours for your next flight when you could already be at the beautiful Atocha train station and on your way to your next destination at 310 Km/h. The RENFE AVE train that connects major cities in Spain is also a great way to witness the extensive groves of oranges and olives that dot the Spanish countryside. Likewise, it is wonderful means to decompress from a long overseas flight.
Unless you travelled a fancy airline like Emirates or Qatar Airways you probably did not eat that well. Once you get situated on the train, take note of where the cafeteria is located and go take a walk and stretch your legs. The cafeteria is a good place to check out the Spanish business people, skim through the newspaper, and taste good olive oil. Yes. Strange but true! RENFE has invested in extra virgen olive oil for their customers and my delight.
They use Oleoestepa Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Estepa, Spain. This Andalusian cooperative produces award winning EVOO year after year. This is quite a feat considering it has 16 associated mills and 5,000 farming families working together in unison. How do they do this? The cooperative provides professional assistance and advice to their farmers throughout the process, they have strict production rules, they carry-out continued research, and have their own laboratories that insure quality at all time. Just like the wines of Rioja, this olive oil of Estepa is registered as a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), protecting the brand even further and safeguarding its quality and authenticity. Under the PDO seal, all olives must be from, and the process completed within the specified area. The final product also must possess certain attributes according to an agreement with the European Commission.
The majority of the Oleoestepa trees are Hojiblanco. This is a variety that is characterized by a grassy aroma and a peppery aftertaste. As for all high quality olive oils, it is perfect on a toast in the morning to help start your day or on a baguette sandwich. I like to order my toast with tomato and a Manchado (Coffee with a lot of milk).
If you want to delve a bit deeper into the oil, see if you note a bit of olive leaf and green almond.
Enjoy and happy travels.