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What's in Store at the Olive Oil Museum in Brač?

19.03.2015.

A visit to the Olive Oil Museum on the Brac Island

The one thing I always carry with me is a bottle of Croatian olive oil. Many people are not familiar with Croatian olive oil. In fact, olive cultivation and olive oil production in today’s Croatia dates back to Roman times. But unlike its Mediterranean counterparts, Spain, Italy, or Greece, Croatia produces relatively small quantities of olive oil to make a strong international name for itself.

But believe me when I say that Croatian extra virgin olive oil is one of the best in the world. And this is not only my personal feel. Croatian olive oils, in the last years, have won lots of prestige international awards. It’s not unusual to see more than 20 Croatian olive oil producers score very high in Flos Olei, the most popular guide to the world of extra virgin olive oil. In 2014 at the New York International Olive Oil Competition as many as nine Croatian olive oils won Gold Award.

You got it! If in Croatia don't miss tasting this awesome (and super healthy) produce. The best regional olive oils in Croatia come from the island of Brač, and Istria.

Best place to experience olive oil production and taste Brač olive oils

Back in August we've spent a weekend on the island of Brač. We booked a half-day tour directly with the Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa where we were staying. This guided tour is awesome, and a great way to experience the island. Our tour included a visit to Pučišća and the School of Stone Masonry, short stop at the Vidova Gora, the highest summit on the island, and a visit to Škrip, the oldest settlement on the island. We were the most exciting about visiting Skrip as it also included a visit to the Muzej Uja (Museum of Olive Oil). And we were right. This proved to be a highlight of our tour.

Muzej Uja is a private museum, set in an old family mill. The mill dates back to 1864 when it was founded by Josip Krstulović, owner’s great grandfather. In 2013, Kruno Cukrov and his family decided to restore the mill and open this small museum, making it the oldest preserved mill with intact and still working equipment. The museum showcases a process of olive oil making back in the times when human and animal power was used to run the mill.

Krstulović family used few different presses, and the current press dates back to the early 20th century. I'm not surprised that these old mills were called "blood mills" as everything, but really everything, was done manually. And it was a long and hard work.

First olives had to be weighted (the old scale is still there!), washed, and ground into a paste. Grinding was manual meaning that two persons would turn a large and heavy millstone to grind the olives.

The liquid extraction was next. The olive paste has been spread on disks made of fiber and stacked one on top of another in a press. Sure, pressing was manual too. During liquid extraction phase, the water was run down to ease the separation of the liquid. Don't forget that water had to be heated first. And the only way to heat water back then was on an open fire (the old fireplace is still there!).

With the invention of hydraulic press not only that the olive oil production got easier, but the quality of oils got better too mostly due to the fact that modern mills are able to press way larger amounts of olives in a short period of time. And this is essential if you want your olive oil to be of an extra virgin quality.

After a tour of the museum we had arranged a tasting of local produce in the tasting room at the top floor of the museum. A tasting room is warm and cozy, with exposed stone walls, wooden beans, and traditional stone ceiling and roof. Lovely! The food was homemade, and beyond delicious. It included a homemade bread (still warm!), a choice of spreads: olive, walnut and fish; salted anchovies, marinated black olives, capers, and a sea fennel, fresh homegrown tomatoes, some cheese and prosciutto (prosciutto you can skip; the rest is much better); red table wine, dessert wine Prošek, and a choice of homemade brandies. And, of course, lots of extra virgin olive oil. Everything was super yummy.

Family Cukrov also has a small shop where they sell their own products: olive oil, a dessert wine Prošek, brandies, jams, and homemade vinegar.

A visit to the Olive Oil Museum in Škrip was an extraordinary experience for us. It allowed us to learn a lot about history of olive oil on the island, of the process of olive oil production, as well as of a history of Krstulović family. The museum is small, personal and very informative. The owner is friendly, and clearly proud of his family's history. He is knowledgeable, but also easy going, interesting and entertaining. 

Olive Oil Museum: Useful info

• This is a small museum, and a guided visit takes half an hour at max.

• Food and wine tasting can be arranged with the museum, and we highly recommend it.

• Olive Oil Museum is located in Škrip. When there don’t miss visiting the Museum of Brač.

• A visit can be arranged through Bluesun hotels; or directly with the Museum.


Contact | a: Put ploča 5, Škrip | t: +385 95 811 4643 | e: muzejuja@gmail.com | Website | Facebook

Working hours | Summer: daily from 10 am-8 pm | Winter: by appointment

Contributer:



Frank G. is a four-time expatriate Canadian currently living in Croatia. Together with his girlfriend, he blogs about Croatia at Frank About Croatia.

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