The people of Monterosa are artisan producers of olive oil in the Eastern Algarve, Portugal.
Monterosa EVOO has its origin in the 20 hectares of olive groves in Moncarapacho. The story began in 1969 with Detlev von Rosen moving from Sweden to Portugal in order to produce Iceberg Salad, Tomatoes and Dill during the winter months for the northern European markets where these, until then, had been available only in summer. The mild climate of the Algarve region was ideal for this.
It was a success but due to difficulties in getting the products to London, Hamburg and Gothenburg, production quickly changed towards ornamental plants in 1972. There was an emerging market for these and they could handle longer transportation times than fresh vegetables. The activity prospered over the years to become one of the important ornamental plants nurseries in Europe.
The olives came later, by chance. The olive tree, which needs little irrigation, substituted an orange grove, as a consequence of several dry years. Olive trees have been present in the Algarve for thousands of years but in modern times the tradition of making olive oil has almost been lost. In year 2000 Monterosa people challenged themselves to produce a premium, unique olive oil in Algarve.
They pick the olives by hand in autumn and immediately take them to their press which dates from roman times, where they are ground to paste in a granite stone mill. The oil is then extracted with state of the art modern equipment, filtered and stored in stainless steel containers until it is bottled.
The result is an olive oil of the highest quality: Monterosa Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They grow five varieties of olives: Verdeal, Maçanilha, Picual, Cobrançosa and Frantoio following a certified Best Practices system that assures respect for the environment and the consumer. The oil made from each variety is quite different in taste and type. Verdeal is the most gentle and Cobrançosa is the most peppery. The others are in between.
But there is much more than the pungency to judge. The bitterness and the fruitiness also vary, as do a host of other aromas and sensations. The olives are picked early in the season when their content of healthy antioxidants is at its highest. The best way to find out which variety you like most is to try them all.
Monterosa is only with us in Poland.