13 kilometres from Estella-Lizarra
and half-way between Logroño and Pamplona you come to Arróniz
. This small village of around 1,000 inhabitants is home to a very 'tasty' festivity, el Día de la Tostada
(literally, "The day of the Toast" and to this small museum dedicated to the world of olive oil.
It is an interpretive centre of around 120 square metres located on the premises of the companyÉkolo
on high ground outside the village. A museum which recovers and exhibits the original machinery used in a primitive oil press that worked until the 1960s
Archaeological parts, scales, carriages, tanks and ceramic jars, among other things, guide the visitor through the process followed by the olive in order to become oil. Enjoy the journey, and discover everything about the olive, which the goddess Athena gave us!
el Día de la Tostada/a> (literally, "The day of the Toast" and to this small museum dedicated to the world of olive oil.It is an interpretive centre of around 120 square metres located on the premises of the company
The visit starts with a 15.minute audiovisual, and then you pass to the exhibition. Here you can see a recreation of an early-20th century olive press/B> and get to know all the elements used in making olive oil in the past. Informative panels help you understand the process, which starts in the old scales and ends in the metal tanks and ceramic jars used to store the oil.
The visitor can follow the route of the olive, passing the hoppers used to unload them into the conical rollers that crushed them. Once ground, the olive was mixed with hot water in a kind of boiler and a mixer. The next stage of the process was pressing and filtering, to obtain the oil of the right quality. The last stage was storage before it was distributed and sold.
Olive oil: a little bit of history
According to mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, made this tree grow out of a spear, and she then said: "... not only will its fruit be good to eat, but it will give an extraordinary liquid, which will be used to feed men and cure their wounds". And that is exactly what happened.
The Romans first and the Muslim civilisation later extended and improved the techniques for growing olives in the Iberian Peninsula. From the 17th and 18th centuries onwards olive oil presses occupied the entire peninsula; they were also known as almazaras (the Arab name). The year 1798 marked the start of the change from millstones to conical rollers, the latest method to produce oil.
From the 19th century onwards, industrialisation mechanised the whole process, although the basic idea is still the same.
Olives; their time and their harvest
A lot of olives are picked in autumn for table olives.A little later, at the start of the winter when the olives are ripe, the rest are picked. Their ripeness is measured on a scale of 0-7, depending on the colour of the skin and the pulp. In the Mendia de Arróniz olive press they take particular care with this because the quality of their oil is backed up by a Designation of Origin.
Most of the crop is picked manually, the most common process being stripping the leaves off and the vareado of the trees, i.e. beating them with poles. Semi-manual systems have appeared in recent years in the form of vibrating machines that make the olives fall into nets at the bottom of the tree; they are then emptied by hand into baskets.