When we think about countries that produce olive oil, Italy often comes to mind as the largest producer of olive oil in the world, but this is not the case. This is Spain, producing more than half of the world's olive oil production. Furthermore, Spain is not only the world's leader in olive oil production, but also in marketing and export.
That said, let's delve deeper into the oil production of each of the leading olive oil producing countries:
Spain holds the title of main producer and exporter of olive oil worldwide. It has enormous areas of olive groves in many regions, such as Andalusia, Catalonia and Jaén, and is capable of supplying a significant part of global demand.
The variety that is most produced and exported in Spain is Picual. Its olive oil is characterized by its intense notes and distinctive character. Furthermore, Spanish olive oils are often distinguished by their high quality standards, with many of them having designations of origin (DO) or protected geographical indications (PGI).
In order to improve production and efficiency, new technologies have been incorporated in Spain, such as irrigation systems or advanced machinery in oil mills. And not only that, but it also has initiatives to promote sustainable agricultural practices and the ecological cultivation of olive trees.
Spanish oils have received numerous awards and recognitions in international competitions, reinforcing their reputation as producers of high-quality olive oil.
Italy follows Spain on the list of the largest olive oil producers in the world. The regions that stand out the most in terms of Italian oil production are Apulia, Calabria and Sicily. The Frantoio variety, with a fruity flavor and spicy notes, is the most cultivated in Italy.
Similar to Spain, in Italy, the 'Denominazioni di Origine Protetta' (DOP). Oils with the DOP designation serve to designate specific regions in which olive oil with particular characteristics is produced.
Regarding the production of Italian oil, despite having incorporated new technologies in some oil mills, many others continue to produce their oil using traditional grinding methods, such as stone presses or granite wheels. However, in Italy they are constantly searching for modern extraction techniques and advanced agricultural practices to improve the quality and sustainability of their oils.
Greece is the third country that produces the most olive oil in the world. Its most notable varieties are Koroneiki and Kalamata, which produce oils with unique flavor profiles.
Many Greek producers still follow traditional production methods that have been passed down from generation to generation, such as harvesting olives by hand or cold pressing. Additionally, many of them have incorporated sustainable agricultural practices and ecological growing methods to preserve the land and the quality of their oils.
Some Greek regions also have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for their oils, and many of them have been awarded numerous awards and recognitions in international competitions.