Gordal table olive
Eating olive from the Gordal variety of olive tree. The name Gordal ("the fat one") is due to its shape (rounded) and to its weight (over 6 gr.) Its production area is mainly in the province of Seville (Andalusia), which is why this olive is also called "Gordal Sevillana". However there are also plantations of this variety of olive in other Spanish provinces such as Córdoba and Huelva. Due to its low oil content, it is used exclusively for processing as an eating olive, and not for oil extraction.
It has a fine and delicate flavor similar to the Manzanilla olive, and a firm, crunchy, meaty texture. It has a good bitter-salt balance, without any marked bitterness or aftertaste (the lingering taste after the olive has been eaten). It has no abnormal flavors (alterations or unusual tastes). The marinade is aromatic and well-balanced.
The Gordal Sevillana is black when ripe, and very large. It is ovoid in shape (length/width ratio of 1.25-1.45), slightly asymmetric, with the maximum crosswise diameter positioned towards the base or center. The apex is round. No nipple. It has an abundance of large lenticels (the structures which ensure the entrance of oxygen and the exchange of gases between the tissues and the exterior).
Production / Processing method
The olives are harvested in September and October. The process for transforming this product into an eating olive differs according to whether the end product is a green or black olive.
- Green: The olives are harvested before the ripe stage, and after transport to the processing plant they are given a preliminarily treatment in order to eliminate the bitter taste and to prepare them for subsequent lactic fermentation. This also serves to develop the organoleptic qualities of the fruit. They are then immersed in brine for a period of between two and four months, depending on the type, variety and future presentation of the olive.
They are preserved for packaging and commercialization by means of pasteurization in order to destroy all pathogenic and common forms of plant life.
- Black: The olives are harvested once they have ripened, and immediately after reaching the plant they are preserved in brine. Once they have been sorted, they go through a treatment which produces their characteristic color. They are packaged and conserved by means of heat sterilization.
Gordal olives may also undergo a marinating process, involving treatment with alkaline bleach and subsequent immersion in brine to produce total or partial fermentation. In some cases the olives are ripened "artificially" (off the tree) by means of a brine-curing process which produces total or partial fermentation and the characteristic black coloring.
Geography / Relief and climate
The region of Andalusia has an area of 87,598 km2, and is located in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering on Portugal to the west, the Mediterranean Sea and the Region of Murcia to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and the Autonomous Regions of Extremadura (province of Badajoz), Castile-La Mancha (provinces of Ciudad Real and Albacete) and Murcia to the north. It comprises the provinces of Almería (8,775 km2), Cádiz (7,436 km2), Córdoba (13,771 km2), Granada (12,647 km2), Huelva (10,128 km2), Jaén (13,496 km2), Málaga (7,308 km2) and Seville (14,036 km2).
In Andalusia there are three different areas: the Guadalquivir valley, the Sierra Morena, and the Cordillera Bética mountain ranges. The highest peaks in the region are: Mulhacén (3,482 m, in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada), Chullo (2,609 m, in the Sierra Nevada in Almería) and Mágina (2,167 m, in the Sierra Mágina in Jaén).
The climate in this Autonomous Region is varied, although always within a Mediterranean climate with a continental or Atlantic influence. The average annual temperature varies widely, with minimum values below 9-10ºC in the areas in the Bética ranges (in the interior of the mountainous areas) such as the Sierras de Cazorla and Segura, and the Sierra Nevada, among others, and in the western part of these same mountain ranges –more exposed to the influence of the Atlantic and the Sierra Morena– higher temperatures ranging between 12º and 15ºC. The average temperatures on the Atlantic coast are above 15ºC, and over 18ºC on some points along the Mediterranean coast and in the Guadalquivir valley, reaching 20ºC on the coast of Almería (one of the hottest points in Spain).
The process for transforming this product into an eating olive differs according to whether the end product is a green or black olive.