Olive oil production in Argentina is still in its infancy. This year is expected to be a poor one because of the falling price of the euro and the fact that Argentineans only consume .15 liters of olive oil annually, compared with 25 liters in Greece. Still, as I discovered at Duty Free in Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza airport while loading up on wine, the country is producing some excellent olive oils. Familia Zuccardi vineyards, one of Mendoza’s best known winemakers, have recently entered the olive oil business and produce three varietal olive oils—Frantoio, Manzanillo, and Arauco. The Arauco olive, my favorite by far and what I’ve been suing with everything in the past few weeks, has been planted in Argentina since the 1500’s when Jesuit missionaries introduced Spanish and Portuguese plants. Some even call it a native Argentinean olive or the Malbec of olives. The oil produced from Arauco olives is robust, greenish yellow in color, floral, fruity, and has a nice long peppery finish that comes out of nowhere. In 2008, Familia Zuccardi’s Arauco olive oil received a gold medal in the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil competition.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.