When I think of olive oil, like most people, the first thing that comes to mind is Spain or Italy, two regions well-known for producing some of the world’s best olive oils. But at a recent event featuring 22 olive oils from Argentina, it was clear that this country should also be considered a player to watch in the industry.
Like wine, olive oil takes on characteristics of its terroir, and like wine, olive oil ranges in quality and flavour. As Argentina is such a geographically diverse country – ranging from mountainous regions to a long coastline – influences on flavour (as with wine) are great.
Although olive trees arrived in the new world with the Spanish conquest, olive oil production in Argentina is a relatively recent industry – prior to the 1990s, the oil was thought to not be of very good quality and was often used in blended table oils. But by 2003, tens of thousands of hectares of olive trees had been planted, many on modern plantations with drip irrigation, and output has increased to around 100,000 pounds per year.