Jaén is known for its seas of olive trees. It holds the position of principal producer of the so-called liquid gold and, in Bailén, one of the highest quality oils in the province is made from the Picual olive variety. A certain touch of bitterness and spiciness creates a pleasurable sensation on the palate which is beyond comparison when eating food cooked with the local olive oil. As it also has a high natural antioxidant content, it is a complete food and very healthy for the body, as it reduces cholesterol and improves the functioning of the digestive system.
As our ancestors did in the past, almost coinciding with the arrival of autumn, the olives are harvested at their peak of maturity, that is, when the colour of the fruit is changing from green to purple. The olives are ground into a paste in the mill, after which the oil is carefully extracted in order to preserve its quality before being classified in the storehouse.
As the main basis of the local economy, clay encompasses two sectors, artisan and structural ceramics. The first of these has been traditionally prominent due to the quality of its garden objects, being known in international markets such as Japan and the United States, while the second sector managed to achieve 30% of national production.
A mixture of cultures and civilisations have passed on this profession to the present day, preserving not only shapes but also decorative techniques with red or white slip coatings and glazes on the clay. The traditional process begins with the extraction of clay, which is subsequently kneaded to enable it to take shape on the wheel, of which there are only a few real masters of this trade. After being fired, the piece is finished, but not the process. An old pottery-related trade which is a tradition within the municipality, now comes into play. This is known as “cacharrero”, and from around 1700 it has played an important role in the distribution of every last bit of the artisan pottery made in the town.
The festivities calendar for Bailén is wide-ranging and you can enjoy a variety of events throughout the year, each one consisting of diverse activities. Below are details of the town’s most characteristic festivals: