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AOVE Fontclara

By Emma Aixalà Photo Yayoi Sawada

Fontclara extra virgin olive oil is the dream of a man captivated by the Empordà landscape.

On one of his many business trips to Barcelona, Swiss businessman Roland Zanotelli took a detour to the Empordà. He fell in love with the local landscape, olive trees, tradition, cuisine, and Mediterranean spirit. Already a producer of extra virgin olive oil in Sicily, he sensed that the flavors in Catalonia were also excellent and he didn't hesitate: he bought a lush estate of ancient olive trees near the town of Palau-Sator and embarked upon the path of Fontclara extra virgin olive oil. He now looks after 8,000 Arbequina and Argudell olive trees on 50 hectares of land blessed by the microclimate of the Empordà golden triangle. He has also planted the Italian Frantoio and Andalusian Picual varieties that will soon produce new olive oil. 

Seal of sustainability

The Catalan Council of Organic Agricultural Production seal guarantees the respectful and ecological production at this sustainable farm. The spontaneous flowering of herbs and flowers around the olive trees is encouraged to promote the balance of flora and fauna and create living ecosystems that help control pests. This biodiversity is supported thanks to the groundwater used to provide the right amount of water to the trees. The olives are harvested by hand in late September or early October when the olives are green to prevent any changes to flavors and aromas. They are processed in the farm's mill, stored in stainless steel vats, and bottled only when ordered. Handling the entire process on site isn't essential, but this method best preserves the olives’ characteristics. The result is a unique and limited collection every year that can be found in gourmet stores and the kitchens of top chefs around the world, which has won awards at countless international competitions such as the gold medals received at the Dubai Olive Oil Competition 2022.

Sensory experiences

It's easy to find Roland Zanotelli walking through the Fontclara olive groves alongside works of art, as well as guides and staff members who work to share knowledge about olive oil at their tastings. Visitors learn that this emerald green velvety liquid gold is an elegant, premium olive oil both for cooking and garnishing. If we taste it carefully, the varietal differences become apparent. The guides offer poetic clues: “Arbequin olive oil has a calmer, thicker character that blends well with all ingredients, gives volume, and creates pleasant balsamic sensations on the palate. Argudell olive oil enhances and accentuates: each olive oil showcases the best of each product.” Visitors see the olive trees, olives, and olive oil and get the response before even asking the question: "It takes between twelve to fourteen kilos of olives to make one liter of olive oil." At this precise moment we understand that sharing and teaching are as important as crafting the product itself.

Empordà on the palate 

Roland Zanotelli, the man behind Fontclara olive oil, sums it all up for us: “I prefer talking about olive juice,” he says, “about its high quality after slow cold pressing, the fruity notes, and its high polyphenol content that's really beneficial for health.” He gives us a bold suggestion: "Move it around your glass like a good wine. Smell and taste the oil on your palate: now you can understand what I said. You'll grasp the high quality of the golden-green olive and enjoy the endless vibrant aromas and flavors." This tiny miracle offers endless sensations.

Finca Fontclara

C/ Sant Julià, s/n

17256 Fontclara Palau-Sator

Phone: 872 22 24 00