`Riogordo’s Milling Honors Verdial Olive Oil - Olive Oil Times

Riogordo’s Milling Honors Verdial Olive Oil

Apr. 12, 2012
Pandora Penamil Penafiel

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The Olearum Culture and Oil Heritage asso­ci­a­tion orga­nized recently the first edi­tion of The Milling of Riogordo” which recre­ated the tra­di­tional pro­duc­tion of olive oil in the Ethnographic Museum of Riogordo (Málaga) bult in the XVII Century.

This event was co-pre­sented by the Ethnographic Museum, and the City of Riogordo con­tributed to present the old cus­toms and ways of mak­ing the famous Verdial Liquid Gold” of the Axarquía region, where Verdial olive oil is one of the prod­ucts for which Malaga is renowned.

The pro­gram involved exten­sive activ­i­ties and con­fer­ences for those inter­ested in tra­di­tional and folk cus­toms.

Riogordo is a beau­ti­ful vil­lage nes­tled in the Axarquia region, whose inhab­i­tants from immemo­r­ial days have ded­i­cated them­selves to the cul­ture of olive oil, and where the Verdial of Velez vari­ety, native of the region, stands as unique in the world.

The activ­i­ties began in the facil­i­ties of Agro-Olivarera Riogordo SCA, a coop­er­a­tive formed by the union in 2004 of two olive coop­er­a­tives founded in the early 60’s with the aim of uni­fy­ing its more than 1,300 part­ners. Attendees were able to visit its mod­ern facil­i­ties and see the cur­rent process of elab­o­ra­tion of the Axarquia’s olive oil.


They also had the oppor­tu­nity to enjoy a tra­di­tional miller’s break­fast made from nat­ural orange juice, bread and extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duced in this coop­er­a­tive. After hav­ing a nice time, the next stop of the day was to visit the Ethnographic Museum of Riogordo.

The his­tory of this museum started in July, 1998 when Enrique Godinez Luque and his wife, Josefa Sanchez Bermudez, bought a house in Riogordo which had inside a com­pletely ruined mill. The vous­soirs were torned apart, the press col­umn was bro­ken.

In these cir­cum­stances, it would have been eas­ier and cheaper to con­vert this sev­en­teenth cen­tury mill to ashes and build a new one, a process that is repeated con­tin­u­ously through­out the Spanish coun­try­side. But Enrique and Josefa fell in love with this mill. That is the main rea­son why its recon­struc­tion into a museum was described at the time as a museum that is born by the grace of the tenac­ity, per­se­ver­ance and the mad­ness of a cou­ple in love.”

But some­times roman­tic and extrav­a­gant projects con­vince peo­ple and insti­tu­tions, who in this case pro­vided an impor­tant sup­port: Riogordo City Council, the University of Malaga, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Telmo and Ceder Axarquia sub­si­dized part of the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the build­ing.

Encouraged by the moral aid and eco­nomic assis­tance, Enrique embarked on an ardu­ous under­tak­ing that required many sac­ri­fices, until the museum opened its doors on August, 2001.

The museum project was con­ceived as a per­ma­nent exhi­bi­tion where the build­ing itself was wor­thy of con­tem­pla­tion, but also intended to be dynamic and expe­ri­en­tial, with activ­i­ties such as arti­sanal olive milling and press­ing of grapes and olives.

In this trip, the Ethnographic Museum became over the week­end a com­ing and going of strong emo­tions. Down the road they set dif­fer­ent stands where you could taste and buy typ­i­cal foods from the Axarquía region such as extra vir­gin olive oil, suck­ling lamb, sausages, goat cheese, bread and pas­tries.

The milling day began with the first task, the grind­ing of Verdial olives kindly pro­vided by Agro-Olivarera. To do this, the old blood mill was turned on” thanks to the loyal sup­port of the Verdial Mule”, who could real­ize the first task of the day; the grind­ing of the olives to turn them into a com­pact mass. The aro­mas of olives after milling excited friends and strangers who were unused to such emo­tions.

The task was com­pleted through­out the day with the help of the atten­dees them­selves, includ­ing Olearum part­ners who attended the event from dif­fer­ent points of Spain. The ancient lever press with four columns (XIX cen­tury) began to exert the nec­es­sary torque to sep­a­rate the two phases (liq­uid and solid ). The magic took place in that moment and Verdial liq­uid gold started to flow in this nat­ural set­tling.

The morn­ing ses­sion was fol­lowed by excel­lent pre­sen­ta­tions. The first one was con­ducted by Francisco Lorenzo Tapia, pres­i­dent of Olearum, who spoke about the asso­ci­a­tion’s projects and its many activ­i­ties related to the cul­ture of the olive tree, and at lunchtime vis­i­tors could enjoy the local cui­sine.

The week­end activ­i­ties fin­ished with the expo­si­tion of two mag­nif­i­cent spec­i­mens of Spanish cul­ture linked to the world of olive oil: The adver­tis­ing art of the XIX cen­tury ded­i­cated to Spanish olive oil and the movie pro­jec­tion of Liquid Gold of Malaga.”


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