Uruguay is South America’s tour de force in miniature. Its size unassuming, its land mostly flat. But over the past few years, the country has gone from relative obscurity to somewhat of a household name.
El Pepe (José Mujica), Uruguay’s charismatic, Volkswagen-Beetle-driving ex-president, jolted the country to the international spotlight with his third-way politics that included marijuana legalization, resettling Guantanamo Bay prisoners cleared for release, and finalizing the implementation of free wifi internet nationwide including all public schools.
Together with these achievements is another success story that hasn’t received nearly as much media attention: The country blooms of vast olive trees. As the olives mature they are pressed and eventually go on to produce first-class, internationally renowned olive oils.
Colinas de Garzón, established in 2005, is Uruguay’s premier boutique olive oil garden. Located in the seaside town of José Ignacio and the peninsula city of Punta del Este, the complex encompasses a total of 4,300 acres.
The area is home to several olive cultivars such as Arbequina, Coratina, Barnea, and Picual. Once mature, these crops are mixed and combined to produce Colinas de Garzón’s award-winning blends.
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The company’s activities aren’t restricted to the production of its renowned extra virgin olive oils. Strategic investments have been made to accommodate visitors, turning the complex into a genuine olive oil tourist attraction.
Bike tours of the open fields are available. Visitors are also welcomed to set up their own picnics. The feature complex is dubbed Fábrica Boutique. Here, in this finely decorated building that blends rustic simplicity with modern amenities, visitors can partake in tastings of different olives and olive oils and locally produced wines. A lounge reserved for private events is also available.
Fábrica Boutique also has its own bodega and a restaurant operated by chef Francis Mallmann. The entire building complex is fitted with a glass wall facing the exuberant green landscape of cascading olive trees.
Colinas de Garzón’s production plant has the milling capacity of 130 tons of olives per day. While the quality of their extra virgin olive oils meets high standards, their production technicians collaborate with several neighboring universities with a focus on ecological preservation.
Matching the company’s objective of producing high-quality olive oils is its goal to be a model of sustainability, preserving the land it tends and local biodiversity.