Esta jornada de inicio de la campaña ha sido organizada por la asociación OLEARUM: Cultura y Patrimonio del Aceite. Con este acto se ha pretendido mostrar al público el proceso artesanal de elaboración del “oro líquido” en un molino tradicional que bien puede ser considerado como un “museo vivo” y que es el único de estas características que aún se mantiene en activo en la provincia de Málaga: El Molino de Nacho Pérez en Benagalbón.
La reunión se inició a primera hora de la mañana con la recolección del saludable fruto, para a continuación y una vez en el molino, llevarse a cabo el proceso de extracción del aceite de oliva virgen.
Como viene siendo habitual en la zona de Benagalbón, se han utilizado las aceitunas de las variedades Verdial de Vélez (autóctona de la Axarquía malagueña) y Lechín de Granada.
Tras el proceso de limpieza y pesado de la aceituna, llegó el momento mágico de la puesta en marcha del molino de tres rulos o muelas con forma cónica talladas en piedra, de los de denominados de arranque manual.
Una vez obtenida la masa de aceitunas se procedió al batido de la misma a temperatura ambiente y tras un breve reposo de la masa, empezó a diferenciarse el aceite, obteniéndose la apreciadísima “flor de aceite” que una vez extraída manualmente con un casillo, fue la delicia de todos los asistentes.
Mas tarde, el proceso de elaboración continuó con un nuevo batido de la masa, esta vez a 27ºC para acondicionar la masa e ir rellenando los 80 capachos del cargo que luego son sometidos a presión en la prensa hidráulica, lo que nos lleva a obtener aceite de oliva de Primera Presión en Frío. Una decantación natural completó el ciclo de elaboración del oro líquido.
Tras contemplar de cerca la molienda tradicional, los asistentes disfrutaron de una comida de confraternidad donde se compartieron platos típicos de la gastronomía local.
A continuación se puede leer la traducción del texto del vídeo al inglés:
The Benagalbón mill is a small family oil-mill which has been producing olive oil for three generations using the traditional system of grinding and pressing. It is one of the few mills still functioning with manual starting-gear, which means it is a sort of active olive oil factory-cum-museum.
Nacho Pérez, a member of the third generation of the family that runs this mill, is delighted to be able to continue the work of his ancestors. The low level of production is due to the decisión to go for quality over quantity, which guarantees that all the oil produced comes from the present year’s campaign.
Benagalbón is a typical beautiful Andalusian village with lots of steep paths and streets adorned with flowers.
Our mill can be found in the centre of the village, opposite the church, surrounded by white houses. Its excellent connections by road allow us to get there in just 5 minutes from Rincón de la Victoria and in 20 minutes from the city of Málaga. Visits and invitations to try the oil are free, but it is recommended to make a visit –and it must be arranged beforehand—in the months of miling, that is, December and Janauary, so that the complete functioning of the mill can be seen.
In the mountainous terrain of Benagalbón and its surrounding area, the verdial and lechín varieties of olive are predominant and they are cultivated without any fertilizer, plant protection or other chemical product, which can be certified in the oil-mill by means of reports of analyses carried out by independent food and agriculture laboratories.
The harvesting is carried out in the traditional way, using the technique of beating (the olives come straight from the tree or as they fall). Once in the mill, they are cleaned and weighed, then they are stored ready for being ground in a period of time that is not more than 24 hours.
The process of milling consists of crushing the olives. Here, the crushing or grinding is done as it has been done for centuries, by means of a hand-made mill of conical granite stones; this is vital in order to obtain a high-quality oil, for this method offers a better crushing of the olive, minimizing the risk of oxidation.
The beating or mixing is designed to homogenize the olive paste as it comes out of the mill and promote the release of the oil. In this process, we take special care over the speed 0f the beating, the time, and above all, the temperature (it must always be below 27 ºC); this way, aromatic compounds are not lost and the processes of oxidation are not accelerated.
Through the pressing, the solids are separated from the liquid, and this is done with a hydraulic press. On a trolley driven by a central axle, the hemp pressing-bags come down, one on top of the other, and in between them the beaten olive paste is pressed into the cargo of bags. The pressure exerted by the oil-press forces the liquids out (a mixture of oil and juice), while the solids (called “orujo” or the skins of the olives) are caught by the bags.
Decantation is the next step in obtaining the “golden liquid” and it consists of the separation of the oil and the juice according to their different density: the juice is deposited in the bottomand the oil floats on top.
This oil is not subjected to any process of centrifugation, as this would generate an excessive aeration, giving rise to a rapid oxidation of the oil and a great loss of aroma.
All Benaoliva oils are bottled or packaged without being filtered. This way, they keep their aroma and taste intact, so small deposits are to be found at the bottom. Because of this method of production, they are called “de primera presión en frío (first cold pressing)” and the result of this careful process can be no other than a first-class olive oil: intense in colour, honey-coloured, with body, tasting clearly of fresh olives, very suave and very sweet (they are oils that are not bitter or too strong).
The star product of this oil-mill is the flor de Aceite (Olive flower), which is made from a careful selection of the best olives from the area which come into the mill.
Its peculiarity consists in the fact that after the grinding of the olive, the resulting paste is allowed to rest and after a while, you can see how the oil is suspended in the paste. At that point, it is collected manually. The whole process is carried out while cold, and it produces a very dense oil, with lots of body, thick and of a very fresh perfume of grass and of the olive fruit itself. It is an oil with character, suave and sweet.
It is bottled raw, that is, without filtering it. The bottles used are elegant glass bottles of 50 and 500 ml., signed and numbered by hand.
At the beginning of the harvest, with the olive still green, the fruit may sometimes produce a slightly bitter taste, but this disappears with time. This bitterness, however, is appreciated by some people and they ask for this oil at the beginning of each harvest. The quality and quantity of these varieties depend on the climate of the given year.