Arbequina vs Picual Olive Oil

What is the difference between these two EVOOs?

Olive oil is one of the most widely used and appreciated liquid golds in the world. It is a product that has been produced since antiquity and one that has shaped the history of several civilisations. It is a major part of the diet of most Mediterranean countries and beyond.

There are numerous varieties of olive oil, a natural vegetable oil obtained from olives. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) extracts oil from both the fleshy and the hard part of the olive, producing a stronger flavour. Two of the most esteemed EVOO varieties are picual olive oil and arbequina olive oil.

Arbequina Olive Oil

Arbequina olive oil is a cultivar, a hybrid, of small olives that do not reach even two grams. Some are small, symmetrical and dark brown, with a rounded apex and a broad peduncular cavity. The others have a golden yellow colour, a fresh, fruity scent and a bitter-sweet flavour. Despite not being very large, both are highly aromatic, and you can extract lots of oil from the arbequina, more than other olives, because they are very greasy.

The Arbequina olive trees are grown in Catalonia, Spain, but it is also grown in Aragon and Andalusia, as well as California, Argentina, Chile and even Australia.

The arbequina type of oil is great for sauteing or roasting vegetables, as well as drizzling. It is a great choice for cooking salmon, white fish, or other delicate seafood, since it is not too overpowering. To really get the flavour, drizzle some on top of salads, and desserts too as it is a sweet olive oil with no bitter aftertaste.

Picual Olive Oil

Small and spherical, the picual variety has a clear olive flavour, fresh aroma with a peppery taste. The oil is characterised by its intense green colour with a slight golden hue, which is due to the high level of chlorophyll and carotenoids in the fruit.

This variety is widely cultivated in olive groves in the provinces of Jaen, Cordoba, Malaga and Sevilla in Andalusia mainly, and smaller areas in Spain too.

Picual olive oil is a type of olive oil with a high smoke point and a strong flavour. Picual olive oil is used widely for its fruity taste, which makes it ideal for salads, meat, poultry and fish dishes. This type of olive oil can be used for cheeses accompanied by toast or a tomato with salt. Because of this strong flavour, some people prefer to use it for cooking, especially frying, while others add it to their food after it has already been cooked.

Arbequina vs Picual

Here we compare six of the Arbequina and Picual extra virgin olive oils we have at the Spanish Gastro Larder:

Picual from Andalucia 

Full of aromas with reminiscences of tomato and figs. It has an intense flavour, which stays long in the nose and mouth.

Arbequina Escornalbou 

Sweet and bitter notes with aromas of vegetables, cut grass, leaves, and tomato, artichoke, as well as notes of almonds.

The Legend Green Picual

A very fresh and herbaceous taste of green tomatoes and the freshness of the figs with a medium bitterness and astringency.

Mis Raices

Smooth with a sweetness standing out over its bitterness with a dash of spice, fresh grass and a delicate touch of fennel.

EVOO brings many health benefits because of the way the oil is obtained, including a high percentage of oleic acid which is most commonly used for preventing heart disease and reducing cholesterol. EVOO has a high content of linoleic acid too which is an essential fatty acid that is required in small amounts.

There is an ancient alchemy to extra virgin olive oil. The rich fats and flavours will allow your cooking to speak more confidently, with a good product like ours bringing its own aromas and accents. When good cooking is within close reach, you're less likely to eat out, making a good EVOO an investment. Whether you choose Arbequina or Picual, we know you will not be disappointed.

We not only provide awarded artisan Spanish extra virgin olive oils, but dry fruits, olives and other delicacies too. Shop all our products today, ideal as gifts or a wonderful gastronomic treat for yourself.