Empeltre black olive

Table olive of the Empeltre variety which is typically found in the Aragón region, although the growing area also extends to other neighboring regions (La Rioja and Catalonia) in Spain, and even to the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands. The name Empeltre derives from the Catalan word "empelt", meaning graft. This is due to the fact that grafting has most likely been the usual method of propagation for this crop, as it is very difficult to root.

As an eating olive, it is commercialized black, and in a marinade. This type of olive is mainly destined for eating directly or as a garnish, almost always in the form of black olives, after they have undergone various curing and sweetening processes.

Tasting notes

Olive with juicy flesh and a sweet flavor.

Other notes

This olive is jet black in color, medium weight (2-4 g), with an elongated shape (with a length/width ration of > 1.45), slightly asymmetrical, with a rounded apex, truncated base, and numerous small lenticels.

Production / Processing method

The olives are harvested when they are ripe (they are a brilliant jet black), starting in mid November although it is normally in the first two weeks of December when they attain their optimum state of ripeness for harvesting and processing prior to commercialization; however, this date may vary, and depends on the crop and the climate each year.

Empeltre olives are processed in brine using traditional methods: after harvesting between December-January, the fruits are sorted and washed in water. They are then immersed in brine (nine months) to eliminate the bitter taste, after which they undergo anaerobic fermentation in tanks with no oxygen supply and with heat oscillation throughout the whole process. They are removed from the saline solution and submitted to a process of sodification and aeration until they are in an optimum state for processing.

Geography / Relief and climate

The Autonomous Region of Aragon in northeast Spain has an area of 47,720 km2 and comprises three provinces: Huesca (15,636 km2), Teruel (14,810 km2) and Zaragoza (17,274 km2). It has 1,481 kilometers of land borders. It borders on France and the Pyrenean mountain range to the north, Catalonia (Lleida and Tarragona) to the east, Valencian Community (Castellón and Valencia, and Castile la Mancha (Cuenca and Guadalajara) to the south, and Navarre and Castile-León (Soria) to the west.

This area is characterized by its dry, limy soils with gypsum formations in the horizons, and by the extreme temperatures, with annual averages of 14ºC to 15ºC at below 200 meters (this is due to its isolation from marine influence, –either Atlantic or Mediterranean– as a result of the relief and its geographic situation). Above 500 meters the temperature ranges between 12ºC and 13ºC, while in the mountains between 600 and 1000 meters, the average temperature is between 11ºC and 12ºC, while above this height it does not exceed 10ºC. It also has scarce and irregular precipitation with an annual average of 350 mm. The strong wind known as "el Cierzo" (prevailing northeasterly wind) serves to accentuate its aridity.

Empeltre black olive