This delicious olive oil comes from the ancient Portuguese olive, Galega. Characteristic for Galega is the fruity and soft taste. The olive oil has aromas of walnut and apple and a soft peppery aftertaste.
The olive oil can be used very well for delicate dishes and desserts, a fine addition to soups and can be combined very well with boiled or baked vegetables. And of course this Galega is delicious with a piece of bread.
At the bottom of this page you will find a few delicious dishes with this olive oil!
"The Galega in this bottle from this olive grove was almost gone."
And there I was… in the middle of Marije\'s paradise
After a beautiful drive from Porto to the house where Marije lives, my navigation indicates that I am there. But when I look around, it seems like I've ended up in the middle of nowhere. The street with white houses that I just drove past does not suggest that I am near an olive grove. When I explain to Marije over the phone what I see around me at that moment, in the hope that she can guide me from there to her house, I see a cheerful, blond woman in my rear-view mirror walking enthusiastically waving. When I have parked the car, Marije takes me right away. Just a few steps and a warm welcome by two very big curious dogs, I'm in the middle of her paradise: the olive grove!
High heels on the olive tree
It has only been 6 years since Marije, together with her husband Gui and then very young children Ben and Mathilda, started her Portuguese dream. She left a life in The Hague as an industrial designer, complete with a suit and high heels, for an uncertain future. Her husband, a Portuguese, had lived in the Netherlands since his studies and hadn't thought that she – Marije – would be able to get used to the hard life in the countryside. Now, 6 years later, he says with a smile on his face that she has actually found her way better than him. After spending a few days with Marije, I understand what he means.
good for everyone
Mary is a doer. And a go-getter. It has often been bad from the start about 6 years ago. There was a flood, a hurricane and a fire… you can hardly make it up but it was all there in recent years. Not to mention the olive fly: the animal lays eggs in an olive and when the eggs become larvae, they slowly eat their way out. The olive is therefore naturally lost and can no longer be used to make extra virgin olive oil. And that is of course what Marije is all about. Every year there is a fight against this fly, because Marije refuses to use chemical pesticides. When I ask about her motive, such a fly can destroy your entire harvest and thus destroy your income that you have worked hard for in one fell swoop, it quickly becomes clear where Marije's heart lies. She wants to produce good, organic olive oil and take good care of her environment; for the people around her, for nature and the history that lies here.
So she sees what nature itself comes up with. And she investigates which positive effects plants, herbs and animals in and around her olive groves have in balancing the ecosystem. That may sound sweet, but it really isn't. For example, with newly planted olive trees, which are only a few centimeters in size at the start, it causes 'natural stress'. By giving the trees less water now and then so that the roots start looking for water that is deeper. This makes the whole tree stronger and at the same time creates better resistance than when they grow faster with all kinds of extra food and care. A disadvantage of this natural approach is that the growth of the trees – and therefore also the first yield – takes longer. But she takes that for granted. Because Marije knows that when it comes to sustainable production, it's not just about speed.
I also heard that today in her inspired choice to transport large parts of her olive oil by ship. By sailing ship of course. Maybe not the fastest way to transport, but one of the greenest! The ship passes through various ports in Europe to stock and unload goods. The following also applies here: the more sustainable and greener, the better Marije is. What a special choice and how wonderful, I can already see the ship sailing with the bottles of Passeite she designed herself. If it is up to Marije, the entire process is 100% green. She does it wherever she can.
Marije takes me to her favorite olive grove. The orchard where the Galega is located: an ancient, authentic Portuguese olive tree. Beautifully shaped trees with beautifully thick trunks stand on a plot of land that is surrounded by a diversity of trees and wild plants. On the way to the orchard, Marije shows which herbs, flowers and fruits grow wild in the adjacent forest. This orchard has a special place in her heart, I can tell right away. At the top of the orchard, we look out over the 63 trees together and while Marije talks about how special she thinks it is here, she gets emotional. Up to that point, I mainly saw a proud, tough woman. But when she talks about the fire in 2017, I see tears in her eyes.
It was exciting, maybe even scary, because they had to leave house and yard behind as the fire spread around them. They left, knowing that the next morning everything could be different. And the next day came. They had to go upstairs to assess the damage. And with the images of the devastating fire before their eyes and lead in their shoes, they arrived at the Galega gaard. Everything smelled of fire and smoke, but the olive trees were almost all untouched! It was a green oasis amid charred ground and trees. A few trees—the oldest of which—were burned, but a lot of trees stood there as if nothing had happened. How wonderful. And how special. Of course there was a lot of damage in the area and it took some time to rebuild it, but to this day Marije is grateful – and I felt that when she spoke about it – that this piece was spared. And that oil is still being made from these trees that have been through a lot over the centuries. If you want to see where Marije's Galega olive oil (and maybe yours) comes from, watch this video. Sit back and enjoy! Then you can see the Galega gaard and Marije with your own eyes. You will see that not a word of what I have just told you has been lied! †
Time to taste.
Back at the family house, it's time to taste. Marije carefully pours the oil from the beautiful, self-designed jug into the specially intended blue glass. As an olive oil sommelier, because she is, of course she knows how to do it! A blue glass so that the color of the oil cannot affect what you smell and taste. I think it\'s so special to now taste that olive oil from where I just stood. Add to that the enthusiasm of this olive oil farmer and I am already sold. However, I do my best to assess the oil as objectively as possible. It doesn't take me much effort to conclude that she is satiny smooth. With a refined pepper. Fairly mild, but pronounced and characteristic. A pleasure!
And while we are having a delicious meal at the setting sun, Marije talks about her plans to expand. She secretly dares to dream of her own press. She had just traveled through Spain and saw there that there is so much mass production that she almost drowned in it. How do I keep my head above water in all that olive oil violence, she thought? Just keep doing what you believe in, she decided. And I heartily applaud that, because you can taste all that love for the land, the olive trees and its surroundings in her delicious Galega. Thank you Marije, that I was allowed to stay with you for a few days and enjoy all the beautiful things you have built together with your family. And that I can now enjoy it at home…