EN PLENO CORAZÓN DE GREDOS
My stay in Santa Cruz del Valle proved to be both an affectionate and moving one. On 23rd February, myself and other colleagues from the olive growing sector found ourselves in this setting located in the Sierra de Gredos in order to receive a most unusual award: The Heart of the Olive (El Corazón de Olivo) given to those “individuals within the field of Olive Cultivation whose exemplary work reflects their professional dedication, who from the very heart exalt and accord a deeper meaning to the olive tree, its Cultivation and the incomparable juice of its fruits”.
Behind this initiative is the non-profit organization Gloria Olivae and its highly committed president, Manuel Ignacio Sánchez, who together with the local Town Council organized a truly charming day, full of human spirit and poetry.
The event was held during the Festival that takes place to mark the end of the Olive Harvest (Fiesta del Remate de la Aceituna). Hence as well as collecting the award – a beautiful olive wood sculpture lovingly crafted by a local artist – we also visited the International Olive Oil Cultural Centre (Oleoteca Internacional) which is located in a restored oil-mill, where we tasted several oils, both locally produced and from other regions of Spain. We were also treated to some traditional “migas” (a dish based on fried breadcrumbs with olive oil and garlic), and a dessert of bread drizzled with orange juice, olive oil and sugar. Prior to this we had attended the opening of a new shop specialising in Extra Virgin Olive Oils, something quite unique in this area.
Thank you once again to Manuel Ignacio for his endeavours and his enthusiasm, and to the many involved in this beautiful, audacious venture.