5. Olive Oil
Olive Oil, or “liquid gold”, is an ancient oil and one of the main components of the much celebrated mediterranean diet, bringing many benefits to our health. The word azeite (olive oil in portuguese) originates in the arabic az zeite, that means olive juice. It was the arabs, in the Middle East, many thousands years ago, who contributed the most for the olive tree cultivation, and were also them who were responsible for the introduction of new oil extraction techniques. Only later, through greeks and romans, did olive trees and olive oil manufacturing spread around mediterranean Europe. Olive oil, just like today, wasn’t just used with culinary purposes, but also as a preservation agent, fuel for ilumination, for balms, ointments, and so on. Nowadays, olive oil is still the king of the mediterranean diet, much for its rich flavours, as for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory medical properties. Consumed with moderation, olive oil helps to fight LDL cholesterol and excess weight. It also helps preventing diseases such as some cancers and type 2 diabetes. In Portugal, olive tree cultivation and the manufacturing of olive oil have a millenary tradition. Roman amphorae with olive oil made here were found across southern Europe and we do have more than one olive tree with more than 2000 years. Today, olive oil still has a major role in the portuguese diet and in the economy too, with the big olive groves growing by the day in Alentejo and Algarve. TOUR During this tour we dare you to come with us to meet a traditional olive oil mill, to learn a bit more about olive groves cultivation, olives and olive oil manufacturing processes. Besides the tour to the mill, you’ll get the chance to enroll in an olive oil tasting, to savour the flavours and aromas of the extra virgin olive oil. We’ll depart next to Olhão, where we’ll eat typical food of the region - without forgetting the olive oil! - and visit the gorgeous city’s downtown. Olive Oil Mill In this mill, traditions rule. Olives are still selected, handpicked and taken to the mill. In the mill we’ll watch the grinding of the fruits and their transformation into oil, that, after that, is filtered, stored and bottled. Olive Oil Tasting We say our goodbyes with the discovery of the inspiring aromas and flavours of the olive oils. Each variety and manufacturing process a new adventure to our senses. Lunch in Olhão We leave to Olhão, land of fishermen, so we can delight ourselves with some typical food of the city, where the fish is king and seafood is scented with olive oil, garlic and coriander. Downtown Olhão After lunch, we’ll take a stroll around the lovely city downtown, that has an attractive redesigned riverside area with its popular market. Always walking with the Ria Formosa estuary in the back, greeting us peacefully.