The Mediterranean diet is known for its emphasis on both healthy foods and rich flavors. And right in the heart of it all, olive oil takes center stage. Due to its ideal climate for olive cultivation, the Mediterranean region serves as the epicenter of high-quality olive oil production. At Musco Food, we are proud to carry extra virgin olive oil from Sicily, southern Italy, Greece… but we had yet to import one from Spain. Among the olive oil experts, Ybarra emerges as a symbol of Spanish excellence, carrying a heritage steeped in centuries of olive cultivation. Ybarra represents more than just olive oil; it encapsulates a story of tradition and quality, and we’re thrilled to introduce it as the first Spanish olive oil in our catalog! To help you get to know this product better, we’ll delve into the beauty of Spanish olive oil, the production process, and of course, Ybarra.
Spanish Olive Oil
Spain is one of the world’s leading producers of olive oil, producing 1.49 million metric tons of oil, out of the 2.82 million metric tons produced globally in 2022. That’s more than 50% of the global olive oil production, with a staggering 60% of it hailing from the beautiful region of Andalusia.
But it’s not just about quantity, Spain brings a rich variety of flavors to the olive oil table due to the diversity of olives in the region. The most common varieties include:
- Picual – Known for its intense and bitter flavor, the extra virgin olive oil from this variety is a robust choice for those who appreciate a bold taste.
- Arbequina – This olive offers a soft and fruity aroma, making its extra virgin olive oil perfect for those who prefer a milder flavor profile.
- Hojiblanca – Slightly bitter with a spicy twist, its extra virgin olive oil is a versatile choice that’s perfect for various culinary applications.
The Ybarra brand has a rich history and tradition dating back to 1842 when it was founded by Don Jose Maria de Ybarra. Located in the Spanish region of Andalusia, Ybarra benefits from its prime location and expertise in selecting the finest olives for its products. For their extra virgin olive oils, Ybarra favors the Arbequina and Hojiblanca varieties, which infuse the oil with fresh and fruity flavors, featuring notes of apples, tomatoes, and fresh grass.
Over the years, Ybarra has consistently demonstrated its commitment to innovation and quality, even in the face of adversity. In July 2016, their factory in Dos Hermanas, Seville, suffered a devastating fire. Nevertheless, the company wasted no time and built one of the most modern agri-food factories in its place within a mere year and a half.
The Art of Olive Oil Production
Ybarra’s olive oil production unfolds in several stages:
- Harvest & Collection – Olives are harvested at the peak of their maturity in Andalusia, usually in the autumn.
- The Mill – The freshly harvested olives are then immediately transported to the mills where they undergo a meticulous process. At the mill, the olives are first cleaned to remove leaves, branches, and other debris. Then the selection process begins, ensuring that only the best olives proceed to the next stages. The selected olives are then crushed to form a homogenous paste. This paste goes through a mixing process to separate the liquid and solid components. The juice is then extracted through cold pressing. Finally, the oil and water naturally present in the olive “juice” are separated through decantation.
- Tasting – Once the olive oil achieves the extra virgin status, a sample is sent to Ybarra’s team of expert tasters. These specialists evaluate the oil based on organoleptic properties, which include aspects like color, flavor, smell, and texture. Just like perfume experts, they then assemble the perfect blend of olive oil for their various lines. Fun Fact: Ybarra’s expert oil tasters participate in more than 1500 oil tastings every year!
- Storage & Packaging – To preserve the oil’s quality, it is carefully stored in stainless steel tanks, protecting it from light and air, which can cause oxidation and deterioration. Finally, the finished product is packaged in cans or bottles, ready for distribution and sale.
How To Use:
Olive oil is incredibly versatile and is the basis of the Mediterranean diet. Here’s a few different ways to incorporate it in your diet.
- Raw – Ideal for dressings on salads, drizzling over vegetables or toast.
- In Stews – Perfect for adding flavor to dishes such as rice, fish, meat stews, and more.
- In Frying – Olive oil is perfect for frying or sauteing all types of foods.
Ybarra’s olive oil is the result of careful harvesting, expert selection, and a dedication to preserving the authenticity of olive oil. Rooted in rich history and tradition, Ybarra’s olive oil stands out as a prime choice for those who seek not just a condiment but a piece of Spanish heritage in every drop. We’re excited to welcome their exceptional products onto our portfolio, ensuring that we consistently provide our customers with the highest caliber of products.
629001 – Ybarra Classic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 12/750ML
629002 – Ybarra Classic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 6/500ML
629003 – Ybarra Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tin – 8/500ML
629004 – Ybarra Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tin – 4/3LT
629005 – Ybarra Pure Olive Oil – 6/1LT