In the Catalonian province of Lleida, in the north-east of Spain, there’s a silent but subtly thriving territory of hard-working farmers and producers whose main objective is to produce the highest quality extra virgin olive oil in the most sustainable manner. The oil has been made here since Roman times, but in the 17th century the Duke of Medinaceli introduced a type of olive tree from Palestine. It was later named Arbequina, after the local village of Arbeca, and because of its high yield is now the most cultivated olive tree around the world. It’s also protected and promoted by the Controlled Designation of Origin of Les Garrigues, which was the first olive oil to get recognition in Spain back in 1975 and later certified as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the EU in 1996.
Despite its relatively small size, innovation in olive oil production and its premium wine-making counterparts make this a very special and rarely-trodden foodie destination. Welcome to a land where tradition and innovation in food dance side by side and where local chefs play the perfect combination of classic and creative cuisine.