I love it how there are so many hidden little gems in Spain pretty much anywhere you go! The land is so diverse and often offers surprises… Like yesterday, when we went on a treasure hunt: I was interested to see olive trees that are over 1000 years old. And didn’t really expect a beautiful landscape and a glorious meal in a historic setting!
Millennial Olive Trees
I read about the oldest olive tree in Spain that has recently been analyzed with the help of laser. The outcome of the test was that the tree was planted in 314.
Year 314! To help myself wrap my brain around the fact, I looked up what was going on in this part of the world at that time.
Roman Emperor Constantine The Great was in power (he ruled from 306 to 337). Imagine that. The tree was planted by the Romans and you can go and buy olive oil made of its olives still… Aghh.. It only helped to wrap my brain around it a little! 🙂
So this year the tree turns 1702 years old. The tree has a name – La Farga de Arion. It’s located in the province of Tarragona.
It blew my mind that olive trees could live that long. So I decided I wanted to see a millennial tree in its habitat for myself.
I came to read that the biggest concentration of millenial olive trees in the world is located where three autonomous communities meet – Valencia, Aragon and Catalonia. (The area is called Territorio del Senia). Not far from home! Lucky me!
An 1,5 hour drive from Valencia and we are in the pueblo of Canet Lo Roig, where one of the olive tree trails starts.
We find ourselves surrounded by a beautiful landscape, poppy fields, almond trees and young vines…
… Met a hare. Its was on its rear paws, staring at us with one eye, his ears acock. As soon as we started going in its direction, it jumped into the bushes, showing his little white fluffy tail.
Here they are
It’s only took us an hour on foot to get to the millennial olive grove. Planted anywhere from the times of the Muslim rule in Spain to “only” a couple of centuries ago, the intricately shaped olive trees were fascinating. The time stood still for a moment…
A little history…
Olive tree cultivating began about 6.000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean. It’s believed that around 2.500 BC Cretans introduced olive trees to the Iberian Peninsula as means of exchange for copper and tin.
There are ancient documents that suggest that Greeks introduced Iberians to olive oil production around 6th century BC.
It was a very pleasant walk. After breathing in the beautiful sights and history for 2 hours it was time for lunch.
Casa dels Capellans
Just 10 minutes away, near the town of Traiguera there is a quality restaurant serving authentic regional food: Casa dels Capellans. It’s located in a picturesque historic setting – a 16th century Sanctuary.
We have tasted the local olive oil and red wine. The cheese from a nearby town of Cati of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk was creamy, pungent and very satisfying. The local Iberian ham (jamon) – fatty, a little salty, went very well on its own. 🙂
Although we were also served tomatoes and garlic, to rub on the great toasted bread.
The oxtail was really well made, meat falling off the bone. I stronly encourage all travelers to forego the prejudice and try oxtail dishes in Spain.
And a cremaet coffee – a glorious ending to a glorious day!
Casa dels Capellans Restaurant
33 EUR per person – lunch with 3 starters, an entry of your choice, a bottle of wine, coffee and a selection of desserts.
I have no affiliation to the restaurant. Opinions expressed are my own.