Antara Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, made from 100% arbequina olives, reflects the flavors of the northern Tarragona region of Spain.
Awards: The claim of the "Best In Spain" for this oil is true. In a decree issued by the Spanish Minister of Agriculture in 1999 and 2004 the Antara was declared "The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Spain". (This means that it was served at all affairs of state, at the royal palace and even at the Nobel Prize dinner!)
Product of Spain.
The inside story: Why we chose to sell Antara - An Interesting History.
"Antara" is a Greek word that describes an orchard/pasture arrangement left over from the Greeks: hazelnut/almond trees in the middle, pasture for small grazing animals between the hazelnuts/almonds, and all this surrounded by olive trees. From this legacy of the Roman and Greeks in Tarragona, Catalunya (northern Spain) comes the brand ANTARA. The ANTARA extra virgin is an olive oil made with arbequina olives. It is a special quality designation referred to as "D.O." SIURANA. In the world of Spanish olive oil this is a big deal. For the ANTARA from the COSELVA, a small rural agricultural cooperative with about 1000 members it is an even bigger deal. The goal of the COSELVA is to maintain the quality of rural life by creating good jobs in agriculture, not to generate huge profits. To this day, in keeping with ancient traditions the members of the COSELVA still cultivate hazelnuts, Marcona Almonds in an Antara arrangement and their prestige crop: ANTARA olive oil.
Some things they could control: The harvest is done with "hand rakes" onto cloth mats so that the olives NEVER touch the soil. The hand rakes mean that the fruit can be picked green and all at once to assure quality and consistency. The Quality Assurance program at the mill specifies that the freshly harvested olives NEVER sit more than 14 hours. Production lightly cleans the olives and separates them from the bitter leaves. The olives are processed in a two phase Pieralisi (stone mills didn't give the COSELVA the quality they wanted!!!). The temperature NEVER goes over 37°C. All these aspects of production are controlled by computer. The oil is then separated from the water by centrifuge, and the used pulp is sold, rather than re-pressed. This is the story we often hear, but seldom taste.
And some things they can't control: The olive trees; they are over 100 years old. We all know this makes for more complexity and nuance in olive oil. The weather: The COSLEVA likes to harvest when the olives are still green. The proximity to the Mediterranean makes the weather predictable and moderate. This temperate climate assures an even ripening of the fruit.