When I inherited Monte da Oliveira Velha, I knew I had to keep it going. Not just to honour my grandfather but as a tribute to this place's heritage. It's only five hectares of land, but each one of the 231 olive trees has a story. We only produce the Galega variety, one of the most traditional and richest kinds of olives in Portugal, and the whole olive grove follows an organic production system.
Together with my wife Liliana, we nurtured the dream of making olive oil out of these olives. Something my grandfather was never able to do. We knew little about the process, but our passion always led the way, and with hard work and dedication, we made things happen. In 2015 we created a unique product and higher in quality than the other olive oils we find at supermarkets: the olive oil Amor É Cego (Love is Blind). It’s a 100% extra virgin olive oil, with 0.1 acidity, cold extracted, balanced and harmonious, maintaining the top features of the “Galega” olive: ripe and fruity, with hints of tomato and dried fruits, and a slightly spicy finish.
As small producers, our product is available in some gourmet shops and restaurants. We’re not everywhere and anywhere, and that's why the easiest way to find us is here, at the estate. Our goal is to bring people who are interested in our olive oil here. It makes sense to tell its story where it all started.
We're the ones who open the door and unveil each detail, whether it's on a quick tour or during lunch in the shade of an oleaster tree. Liliana is passionate about gastronomy, and as a genuine Alentejo local, she learned how to honour our traditional cuisine and give it an innovative touch. The food she serves here is all prepared with our olive oil, and it's delicious.
We welcome people with enthusiasm and simplicity because we want this experience to be genuine and a happy memory to whoever visits us. We feel the responsibility of educating people and giving them the tools so that they enjoy olive oil in the best way possible in their daily routines.
There is a funny story behind the stone that welcomes guests at the entrance to Monte da Oliveira Velha. Before it was out in display, it was underground for many years. Every time a car left the parking lot, it would hit the small visible part, and we realised we had to remove it. But we had no idea how big it was. When we started digging, we were surprised we couldn't see the end of it. Of course, we had to keep it.
Our story and mission
My grandfather lived all his life in Azaruja. I was born and raised in Évora but used to come here many times. I always helped him with the olive picking, but I knew very little about how olive oil was made because we sold all the olives to other producers and co-ops.
I could say I have fond memories of this olive grove, but the truth is that it was a difficult job and my grandfather picked the olives when they were too ripe, in the middle of winter, when cold weather in Alentejo is intense. What connects me to this place and what makes me want to protect it is, above all, the passion my grandfather had for this land and the fact that it's such a rich place. Some of these olive trees are over 1,000 years old, and they carry the responsibility of producing a national variety that few others do, the Galega.
After a first year of trying to see how well things went, our first olive oil was born. It all happened naturally as if all the jigsaw puzzle pieces fit. The day we decided to start hosting people was the day we began to learn more.
As soon as I inherited this place, I began to look for a way to keep it alive. I knew my grandfather's business model wouldn't be enough to pay the bills and producing olive oil was the dream. I'm a Math teacher, and Liliana is an English teacher, we both work full-time jobs, and none of us was knowledgeable in this area. I dedicated myself to this project. I studied and researched a lot, talked to university professors and producers who helped me learn how to make olive oil from scratch.
As small producers who aimed for a high-quality product, we knew our target clients would be very demanding, so our brand image and name needed to stand out. We searched for the best designers until we found Rita Rivotti. We invited her to visit the property, and after a two-hour conversation, we convinced her to help us. When we began brainstorming about the name - which we hadn't thought about yet - she was the one who shed a light, saying half-joking: "You either call your olive oil Nós Somos Completamente Loucos (We Are Completely Mad) or Amor É Cego (Love is Blind)". It made perfect sense, so we chose the second one. Immediately Rita had the image of the Estremoz’s clay figurines, called Amor É Cego, and she drew inspiration from them to design the label.
From then on, we just let things follow their course and opened the doors of our property to the world. Our goal is to share our roots and our life experience with people. And this place is all that. We love having people over, and we believe that our simplicity and authenticity represents the people of Alentejo. We are very proud and respectful of this land. Each olive tree takes probably eight years to produce the first olives. They need to be cared for, and they are deeply connected to the region's History.
One of the best olive oils in Portugal, our Amor é Cego, is born at Monte da Oliveira Velha, between Évora and Estremoz. Tasting it in the shade of the olive trees where it comes from and in the company of who produces it is unforgettable. To us, it's always inspiring to welcome guests. Learn more about our story.
From the world to Monte da Oliveira Velha
We were fortunate with the location: surrounded by oleaster and olive trees with over 1,000 years old, Monte da Oliveira Velha is part of a refuge where all you hear is nature’s sounds. The landscape is half of the experience we offer.
Monsaraz is one of our favourite places. It’s so authentic and has the best views in Alentejo.
We're between Évora and Estremoz, 17km from one of the most visited cities in Alentejo and 25km from one of the most beautiful. Évora is the region's capital city, and it's full of culture and History. Spending a whole day walking its streets is not enough to unveil all the heritage.
Evoramonte, with the castle with a spectacular view, is to our right. We're in a part of Alentejo where it's not as dry as the south side and where there is a lot to see and do. Even the smaller towns, and we have lots of them around like Azaruja, have something worth visiting.
Just 10km from here you can visit Ermida de Nossa Senhora do Carmo. It’s an almost secret spot that most people don’t know about. To visit inside, we need to look for the lady who has the key and who lives nearby. Inside you’ll see the biggest private collection of ex-votos in the Iberian Peninsula. The walls are covered with these paintings that symbolise the promises made by devotees over the years. Some of the paintings are over 200 years old. It’s amazing.