1. Finca la Pontezuela, la referencia de Oleoturismo en Castilla La Mancha
With an interpretation center of the olive grove, Finca la pontezuela, offers, surely, one of the most complete experiences of oleotourism that can be enjoyed in Spain.
We are not going to fool ourselves. The first feeling we had when we went to the Finca de la Pontezuela oil mill is that it is secluded from the world and located in a hidden corner of Spanish province of Toledo . Later, we discovered that such important firms as Faiges or Marqués de Griñón who have their farms and facilities nearby.
Those of us who are used to infinite fields of olive trees hoped that, in the area of Los Navalmorales, which is where the farm is located, we could find large areas of this crop, but it is not like that. However, when we step on the ground, we admire the beauty of the marriage of olive groves and grapevines. Wine and olive oil coexist in a wonderful symbiosis of these two fundamental pillars of a Mediterranean diet that set their roots in the foothills of the Cabañeros National Park.
As we approached the farm itself, we had the feeling that we were going the wrong way and that Google Maps had been wrong. But no, we managed to reach the entrance of this imposing estate and the browser correctly indicated the location of the place.
The same access gate suggests that we are going to enter a different and unique place. The oil mill is made up of a set of highly elegant spaces that are in great harmony with each other and that warns us about their uniqueness compared to everything we have seen so far in the olive oil tourism sector. Normally, oil mills have been growing over time and, for the most part, they do not keep a common line but a sum of constructions that have been added. The Finca la Pontezuela stands imposing and entices you to enter and get to know it.
The olive oil mill
Upon arrival, the tourist manager of the olive oil mill shows us the different parts of it. On the one hand, we find the set of the “Olivar Interpretation Center” is made up of a room for projections and events, the store, the exhibition area and the tasting and pairing areas. On the other hand, we have the administrative area, olive oil mill, warehouses, other facilities and the bottling plant. All this bathed by a large pond that invites you to walk around it and surrounded by hundreds of olive trees that expose their silver leaves that will cover the fruit that will give rise to the extra virgin olive oil or AOVE of the 5 Elementos, which is the premium olive oil brand of Finca La Pontezuela.
The oleotourism experience
From the first moment you realize that the Finca La Pontezuela´s olive oil tourism project is different. The first thing that caught our attention is that the person in charge of this line is a person with great experience in the tourism sector. I know it seems obvious as to what I am saying but only those who have visited many olive mills are able to make better choices in hiring professionals, compared to those with less experiance.
The visit begins with a projection that brings us to the place where we are. It allows us to locate ourselves and learn about its origin, its history and see how olive trees and olive oil have established their roots in these lands since time immemorial.
Our visit has been out of season, which has not allowed us to physically see how the olives are harvested, ground and liquid gold is made. But, it must be recognized that, through images, they allow us to imagine what these processes would be like. However, we take a tour of the facilities, now quiet and silent. The olive oil production area with the hopper, the washing area, the conveyor belt, the grinding or the centrifuge. In a second room, we go to the warehouse area where you keep the precious juice in special conditions. Finishing in the packaging machine where this unique gastronomic product is bottled.
Once we are familiar with the mechanical processes for extracting AOVE, we go to the interpretation center. An experience that transports us to the olive grove and shows us in detail the seasons in the olive tree. With avant-garde technology, we can immerse ourselves in an exciting world of knowledge, colors, sensations, aromas and flavors. And everything unfolds in a fun and entertaining way.
Finally, we have the opportunity to acquire their range of products at their own olive oil store.
A perfect plan to get to know the culture and the exciting world of olive oil and the olive grove
The whole tour can last for an hour and a half or two. It did not make us tired at all, quite the contrary. The circuit has very fun parts for families and children. Through games that stimulate sight, memory and smell, you can learn a lot about this great unknown that is olive oil and olive groves.
We ended up taking a walk around the pond at the foot of the olive trees. A very fun and enjoyable morning.
To put one downside, we would say that we missed some food pairing to learn how oil and its varieties behave in different foods.
Another aspect to highlight is that this enclave is very isolated and we hardly had services to eat or visit interesting nearby places to spend the whole day or even to enjoy a good weekend. If you are in Madrid or in the vicinity, you can go and return in the day.
However, if you are passionate about this world and you have the chance to visit it, do it. It is highly recommended and illustrative for the whole family.