Moro flavour first family
Spanish cuisine perfectly exemplifies how, with quality ingredients, the simplest recipes are often the best. And The most reached-for items in Spanish kitchens, whether for use in cooking or as condiments, Are olive oil and vinegar – signature specialties of Moro, renowned for it's authentic flavours.
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With their attractive, silvery-green leaves, olive trees dominate the landscape of Andalucia in the south of Spain, a region that produces around 75% of that country’s olive oil. The Phoenicians brought olive trees to Spain almost 3,000 years ago, and today it produces almost half of the world’s entire output of olive oil.
Long hot summers and short cold winters that encourage flowering and subsequent fruiting are to thank for this abundance, which is well represented in the cuisine of the region; from gazpacho (a classic Andalusian cold soup) to pescaíto frito – small deep-fried fish and squid – and desserts such as tortas de aceite, crisp, sugar-dusted pancakes fried in olive oil.
Within Andalucia, Jaén is often called “the world capital of olive oil,” venerated for both the quantity and quality of its oil. Outside of Jaén, there are many significant growing regions of olive around Spain, such as Cordoba, Priego de Cordoba, Toledo, Catalonia and Extremadura, each with their own characteristics and varieties.
Like wine, olive oil can express the ‘terroir’ of the region it comes from, as well as the characteristics of the olive variety. Typical flavour descriptors for olive oil include ‘nutty’, ‘peppery,’ ‘fruity’ or even ‘buttery.’ Pressed from the fruit itself rather than the seed (as is the case with most oils), olive oil can vary in flavour and aroma intensity, as well as in colour (from delicate straw yellow to deep, rich green).
Moro's sensational range of olive oils and vinegars.
Andalucia in Spain, home to the finest premium olive groves used to make Moro products.
ORIGINS OF QUALITY
While Spain cultivates an astounding 260 different varieties of olives, two varieties dominate the Andalusian olive crops: picual, (accounting for around 60% of trees), and hojiblanca (20%). The picual olive is popular because it produces plenty of good quality oil regarded for its tropical-like fruitiness and bold, peppery taste with olive leaf notes. It’s a stable oil that doesn’t oxidise easily, meaning it has a longer shelf life and great resistance to high-temperature cooking. Hojiblanca, whose name refers to the white colour of the leaves of the species, is characterised by its aromatic sweetness and slight peppery finish. Other popular varieties include arbequina, which produces a famously fruity oil, with an aroma of olives, apple, banana and almond; and cornicabra – spicy and slightly bitter in flavour.
The months between November and March are harvest time in Andalucia, the trees heavy with fruit, which needs to be shaken to the nets below the tree either by hand or with machines. The process of extraction is done speedily, with Moro selecting the very best of the best Spanish olives and pressing them within hours to ensure the preservation of the olives’ unique aroma and flavour.
After being cold-pressed, for reasons of balance or to offer distinct flavour profiles, different oils are blended: a practice that requires a great deal of skill and technical expertise, as well as a highly developed palate. Keen cooks appreciate that these different blends or refining processes make for oils particularly suited to certain purposes.
Spain is home to over 260 varieties of olives, of which the picqual is the most widely cultivated.
Lighter oils like Moro Delicado Light Taste Olive Oil, for example, are perfect for deep-frying, and as a replacement for butter in sweets and baking. Moro Primero Extra Virgin Olive Oil, meanwhile, is full-bodied with a light, peppery finish, ideal for salads, drizzling over vegetables or bruschetta, in marinades for meat or chicken, or for making aioli or mayonnaise.
If crispy roasted potatoes have always proven elusive, Moro Tradicional – a special blend of extra virgin and refined olive oils, medium in body, lighter in flavour and colour than extra virgin olive oil – may well be the secret to creating those perfect golden-brown crispy bits. It’s a great all-rounder oil, suitable not just for roasting, but also frying, sauteing, and in sauces when you want the flavour to sit in the background rather than dominate; whether it’s in a mojo verde, a romesco or a classic Italian pesto.
Then there’s the Moro Organico Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which champions the organic olive groves that are delivering nature’s best untouched product while encouraging more sustainable farming. And the exceptional Moro Reserva Familia: a unique blend of rare picuda and classic Spanish hojiblanca olives from Cordoba, boasting a complex, fruity flavour and well-balanced spicy kick. It’s a special oil to use with cold dishes when you really want to add another layer of flavour: a summery Caprese salad, drizzled over grilled fish, or a dish of carpaccio perhaps. Whichever oils you choose to keep in your kitchen, preserve their flavour and freshness by keeping them away from heat and too much light.
Simple, pure flavours reign supreme.
Moro has an olive oil to meet every need.
DRESS TO IMPRESS
A natural partner – the ‘pepper’ to the ‘salt’ of olive oil, and another essential pantry staple – is a good quality vinegar. Moro’s Balsamic Vinegar comes from Modena in central Italy, a blend of grape must and wine vinegar. To be called ‘balsamic’ the vinegar needs to be aged in wooden casks for a specific amount of time: Moro’s range includes a bright 2-month-old and a luxurious 36-month-old vinegar (made from 100% cooked grape must), perfect for blending with the Moro olive oil of choice for a salad dressing, a dip for toasted bread, or drizzled over roasted meats or vegetables.
One or both of Moro’s wine vinegars are ideal for use in marinating, sauces or pickling, while Moro’s Apple Cider Vinegar or Sherry Vinegar can be used to elevate dishes featuring pork or chicken, in vinaigrettes, or for deglazing a pan. The Gourmet Italian Glaze is also a must-try, especially when drizzled over strawberries.
As ever, Moro’s benchmark quality is assured. Stock your pantry with these premium oils and vinegars and you’ll always have simple, less-is-more solutions at hand that can highlight, rather than hide the inherent natural flavours of your food.