BY FRANCESCA VAN SOEST ON MAY 5th 2020
Time to shine the spotlight on another one of Cobram Estate's favorite olive varieties: Picual. Picual olives are one of the most popular olives in Spain, and historically have gotten a bad reputation because when they are allowed to ripen too much, they can form some less than desirable organoleptic properties. But, if they are harvested early, with some still green and others just starting to turn purple like in the image below, the result is magic. The oil these olives creates is fresh and fruity and can take on a distinct smell of tomato leaves which is deliciously intoxicating. And because of its medium size and high oil content, it has been described as "the perfect olive to process".
The fruit itself is medium in size with some fruits having noses and others being more rounded. The skin has some small freckles and the skin has a slightly bumpier texture. The fruit ripens earlier in the season, and the oil content in the fruit is high. The fruit also has a low removal force, which facilitates mechanical harvesting. As mentioned above, the oil is highly valued for its organoleptic characteristics, and has a very high oleic acid content, giving the oil a longer shelf life than other oils.
The canopy is dense and spreading and the leaves are narrow, pointy and yellow/green in colour. This tree is particularly resistant to cold, and excess soil moisture. It is however susceptible to olive leaf spot and olive fly.
We hope that you are enjoying these Olive Variety Spotlights!
Chef’s notes: Picual’s green notes of tomato bush, Cyprus and sometime hops make it the perfect oil for bringing some green freshness to a dish. When pairing, think about complimenting or contrasting. A Picual compliments an heirloom tomato or bitter green salad perfectly, while a contrasting pairing may be a fatty piece of grilled salmon or an umami rich braised lamb shank.