It was the Greeks and Phoenicians who brought the olive tree to the Iberian peninsula as well as to Majorca. By the 13th century Majorcan olive oil was already well known throughout the Mediterranean and in the mid 15th century Sóller was one of the most important ports for the exportation of olive oil to Southern France. In fact, ninety percent of Majorca’s olive trees are more than 500 years old.
There are three olive varieties that thrive on Majorca: the “Arbequina” with its fruity flavour, the mild and sweet “Mallorquina” or “Empeltre” with hints of ripe almonds, and the “Picual” with a slightly bitter note.
Since 2002, the island’s local oil has been protected by the Denomination of Origin (D.O.) Oli de Mallorca. This guarantees that the cultivation and production of the oil has taken place on the island where the oil has been cold-pressed and can therefore be awarded the “extra virgin” (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) quality seal. This pure olive oil is neither refined nor enriched with additives. Such a gentle way of processing preserves a maximum of unsaturated fatty acids which, among other benefits, lower cholesterol levels. A “Mediterranean diet” without olive oil – unthinkable!
The Son Moragues estate has some of the most typical olive groves in Majorca. The olive oil comes from trees that have been grafted and cultivated for 700 years by many generations of the Moragues family. Since around 1230 when the first members of the Moragues family arrived on the island, the finca has become one of the most important producers of olive oil in the Tramuntana Mountains due to the hard work and dedication of many of its generations.
Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria bought the estate in 1883 and, thanks to the changes he made to the large olive mill and his investment in the care of the olive groves, he was able to revive an ancient art that had already suffered significant setbacks elsewhere on the island. He fought hard to make sure that the centuries-old tradition of olive growing was not lost. In 1888 the tireless dedication of the Archduke was finally rewarded by the prize awarded to the Son Moragues olive oil at the World Exhibition in Barcelona.
Today, Son Moragues is an olive farm dedicated to a contemporary tradition. In 2006, the estate started organic farming following the methods and laws established by the EU. Since then, the biodiversity of the area and the fertility of the countryside have increased significantly. Conventional methods of industrial farming are avoided and the land is viewed and cultivated from its integrative perspective. This means, that trees, plants, animals and insects are all regarded as elements of a living holistic system. From mid October farmers will spread nets under the trees, the olives will be harvested by hand – using special rakes to gently scrape the olives from the trees – before being transported to the olive mill in crates where they will be washed, picked over by hand, pressed and filtered. A very special experience!
On the other side of the island, on Majorca’s beautiful southeastern coast and in close proximity to the Mondragó Nature Park, two visionaries, Dirk Müller-Busch and Rudolf Langer produce the still new yet outstanding Olí de Santanyí. It is their desire to produce organic olive oil as one would the finest wine. In their high-tech oil mill specially designed for Oli de Santanyí, an innovative process is used for producing an olive oil that contains the maximum amount of healthy antioxidants and for extracting the best from the olives in keeping with current scientific standards. As a result the organic oil, harvested early in the season in September, provides a very special taste experience with an added health bonus: the fresh, green flavours leave a lingering fruity taste on the palate with a fine slightly bitter spiciness. In the first year of its launch international experts rated this organic olive oil as one of the finest olive oils in the world. It received a gold medal in Córdoba, New York and Los Angeles.
Would you like to know a delicious cocktail recipe using olive oil? Take two parts Majorcan oil, one part of the sweet liqueur Hierbas de Mallorca and two parts pear juice. Pour into a blender, add ice cubes and mix until creamy. Cheers!