It is among the most famous Spanish varieties. It originates from the town of Arbeca, in the region of Les Garrigues (Lleida), where it takes its name. According to history, it comes from Mallorca. Tradition tells us that King James I brought to Cataluña from Mallorca and one of his subjects, the Lord of Arbeca, planted this variety in his fiefdom. Others believe the variety came to the peninsula through the Templars.
It is spread around the provinces of Tarragona (DO Siurana) and Lleida (DO Les Garrigues) both in the community of Cataluña. It is also present in the provinces of Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel. The oils covered under the OD of Bajo de Aragón allowed up to 20% of Arbequina variety. Lately, it has been spread its cultivation in Andalusia.
Arbequina olive fruits are small, but highly valued for their early entry into production, with an average maturity period between the second week of December and the second week of January, high productivity and good oil yield, about 20.5% of oil that ranks it among the varieties with higher oil extraction rate.
They are oils that have fresh fruity aromas of almonds and other fruits. They taste bitter and very soft spicy, the note of astringency never appears and they have a very smooth first impression and they provide a very nice and delicate almond tactile feel. The oils could be described as harmonious features, soft, light, delicate, sweet almond and with an aroma of ripe fruit (pureed fruit and apple), in which sometimes exotic aromas exist.
However, it is also common the type of oil fruity light green, medium bitter, spicy and sweet. This oil corresponds to the start of the collecting period, when the olive fruits are still green and this feature is obviously reflected in the organoleptic profile of the oil.
Thanks to its composition they are more delicate than other varieties in oxidation and once packed it is very important that they are protected from light and heat.