The origin of olive cultivation dates back to the Copper age (4000 BC) in the Near East, where a variety of large and meaty olives were already selected from African and Oriental olive hybrids.
The oil, obtained by means of still-primitive methods, was used for food, fuel for lamps, and the preparation of ointments and medicinal concoctions. In Babylon a doctor was known as an “asu”, or connoisseur of oils.
In Ancient Greece olive oil became a substance of the utmost importance. A notable series of literary citations make reference to it, and the olive tree was present throughout its mythology.
During the Middle Ages the product grew scarce and, in certain cases, actually came to be used as a form of cash. As of the 5th century religious orders possessed most of the olive groves in cultivation, their oil being consumed by the upper classes and, above all, the clergy. At monasteries the oil needed to season meals was apportioned to each monk daily.
On the Iberian Peninsula La Almazara del Convento produces one of the oils most steeped in tradition, its origins stemming back to 1752, as documented in land records from the era held by the Municipality of Caniles (Granada). It was then when, after the massive appropriation of Church properties under Mendizábal, the convent and the almazara (oil mill) came under private ownership, remaining so until today.
The extra virgin olive oil produced by La Almazara del Convento is considered by experts to be the oldest on the Iberian Peninsula and that with the longest tradition. Its production process has remained virtually unchanged over the years. New technologies have reduced processing and packaging times, but the steps taken from the olive grove to the mill remain virtually the same.