Try our gourmet Cycling tours in Portugal and find the secrets of our fantastic olive oil!
by Teresa Vilas Boas, general manager and guide.
Most cyclists who come on our cycling trips think they know all about olive oil and buy really good one. But very soon they discover that is not the case….
Cycling tours in Portugal can be a very rich gastronomic experience if you book with the right company. Portugal has its own very rich Mediterranean cuisine. The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food. Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. In Portugal we don’t meet people “just because”. We meet for coffee, for a petisco (local snack), for afternoon snack, for lunch, for dinner. No matter what, it has to include food. Even in business, no big contract is closed without a good meal.
And olive oil is basically EVERYWHERE. Please never book your cycling tour in Portugal saying “I am allergic to olive oil”: you will put the company in a huge dilemma!!! Restaurants will refuse our booking!!!
Photo: one of the starter with olive oil
In guided cycling tours in Portugal we always do an olive oil tasting with an explanation about all there is to know about olives and olive oil production. There is one super important detail to retain about this incredible oil: you need to buy the real thing. Anything that says only “olive oil” is probably not it. A bottle that has a label with the words “Olive oil” only is a deceiving product which should be avoided at all costs. It contains a liquid that comes from olives, yes. But probably was not good quality to begin with, and it was so bad it could not be bottled (imagine that!!!). So they refine it (chemical process) or mix it with other oils (only God knows what!) and make the acidity go down so that they can bottle it and sell it.
Photo: one fantastic picnic on our tours
So what should you buy? Only Virgin or Extra Virgin olive oil. Because these 2 little words (virgin and extra virgin) simply mean that the olives were crushed, oil came out and this oil was perfect and was under 2% of acidity. A pure mechanical process originated what is in the bottle. And that is SUPER EXCELENT!!!
And for a little movie about a really easy starter with olive oil, press here!