In 1989 I was looking for a peaceful estate in the country where I could relax and enjoy family and friends. A place that reminds me of the mountains of my birth place in Lebanon. I found Finca La Capellanía which is 100 kilometers south of my residence on the Spanish Riviera. Finca La Capellanía means little church and it use to be a place where Spanish monks once lived.
The town where the estate is located is called Benarrabá and it sits well protected on top of a hill. The town is one the last stronghold of its Arab occupiers before they were driven off the Spanish mainland across the Straights of Gibraltar.
I remember when I first went to see the estate. We had to walk for more than an hour off the main road. As we walked toward the estate, I couldn’t help asking myself how much peacefulness I needed. When we arrived at the abandon estate the thing that caused me to buy it was the natural spring.
The estate is nestled on a hillside and has a surface area of 150 ha. and it is where I built my first home in Spain. On the southern Spanish coast, water is a luxurious necessity afforded only to the fortunate and Finca La Capellanía is blessed with its share.
The main dwelling on the estate was carefully crafted, so as to not intrude on the remoteness of the location while making sure to include all the amenities of home. To get a aerial view of the location, click here!
As time passed, I planted olives (picual, manzanilla, and arbequina) and other fruits on the estate. Today the olive trees are producing olives making the next natural step possible and that is harvesting and producing my own organic extra virgin olive oil.
Today Finca La Capellanía produces an artisan organic extra virgin olive oil that is second to none. The olive oil comes from organic olive trees where absolutely no chemicals are used on the trees, fruits or the soil. Finca La Capellanía organic extra virgin olive oil is produced from nature made olives. Just sun, earth, water, and a hands off approach, is how we do it.
The other day I was taking D’Olive up to the estate to see the harvest and as I turned around a corner we were suddenly stopped by a jenny ass and her foal (a young ass). Yes, they are the ones you see here in the picture on the left. If you click on the picture you’ll get a better look at them. We were quite surprised by their sudden appearance. I am not sure what asses like to eat, but if they like olive leaves then they’re in luck because we get a lot of nice looking leaves after cleaning the olives.
Some folks must still think that we work our asses to mill olives, but that’s not entirely correct, because it was the ancestors of the jenny you see in the picture on the right that were used. Equus africanus asinus has been used for milling olives for more than a thousand years. They may seem to lack a sense of humor and that’s probably because olive growers use to work them almost non-stop during the olive season many years ago. Today we have all kinds of mechanical equipment to mill and press olives. Coming to think of it, we only saw the jenny with her foal so that means there must be a jack ass or two somewhere around here.
Finally, the reality is, we produce only a small quantity of Finca La Capellanía organic extra virgin olive oil and the only place you can try it is at Finca La Capellanía or at Paumanok Vinyards in Long island New York.
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Gabriel Massoud & Family