Any olive oil company worth its olives knows that the best oil comes from an early harvest. Olives are harvested when they are firm, green and unripe, before basking too long in the sun when they turn shades of purple and develop flavors that would ruin what we’ve come to love from a good extra virgin. These green unripe beauties don’t produce as much oil, but the oil they do give us bursts with flavor and complexity – notes of almonds, ripe fruits, and a spiciness that makes dishes come alive.
Spanish company Castillo de Canena waits every year for the perfect moment to begin harvest. When the temperature, moisture and flavor characteristics hit their peak. The first day of harvest culls all of these perfect olives, and they have decided to turn them into a limited edition Castillo de Canena First Day of Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oils. All of the intense, pungent flavors that we know and love from their family reserve oils are amplified in the “First Day of Harvest” oils. Their arbequina extra virgin simply shimmers with flavors of green grass, banana, green apple, almond and herbs. The picual oil is a stunner, with fig, tomato leaves, artichoke, banana, and a spicy finish that will beg you to pour it over roasted veggies and hearty tomato sauces.
In celebration of the harvest, every year Castillo de Canena chooses an influential artist to help design a unique label. This year the Castillo de Canena First Day Arbequina and Picual oils both feature the artwork of Alex de la Iglesia, an iconic Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former comic book artist. His character drawing proclaims with bottle in hand “Todo con AOVE!!” meaning “Everything with Olive Oil!!” adds a splash of levity and fun to each bright red bottle. Alex tells us that “Working on this project has not only been good fun, as the production of the First Day of Harvest bring the same magic, emotion and passion to the world of extra virgin oil as the characters in my films and books convey.”
To experience a bit of that harvest magic, click on the 2016 harvest video below from Castillo de Canena (or just open up a bottle and pour!)