The most awarded mustard in the country is born in the Alto Valle
10 Oct 2020
Arytza is a dressing producer company that has its mustard fields and part of its plant in the Upper Valley of Rio Negro and Neuquén, it is currently certified by OIA.
Leo Merlo and Mariano Carballo met through losing battles simultaneously. Unemployed, dismantling relationships, looking for a path, a path that will get them out of the bad, they joined strength and judgment and created one of the most interesting companies in the gastronomic niche in recent years.
They never imagined that some time later they would be the only one in the country who would enter the Mustard Museum in Wisconsin, United States, and that awards and mentions would rain on them, here and abroad.
More than a decade ago they invented Arytza and today they make more than seven tons of dressings per month exporting to almost ten countries.
In times of pandemic, we sat down to chat with one of them from a distance. On the other side of the screen is Leo Merlo, from Cipoleño and one of the owners of Arytza, a producer of mustards and organic condiments chosen by the best chefs in the world for their profile of a natural and environmentally friendly product.
“When we think about growing we don’t hesitate for a second to make it organic, our crops are in Allen and they are certified. Regarding the consumption of mustard, it has grown a lot, Argentine gastronomy is crossed by the use of mustard with French cuisine. There is a profile of chefs who are very related. In that sense, with chefs and with the gastronomic world there is an importance and a very good knowledge regarding the characteristics of the product ”said Merlo.
They are currently finishing one of their production plants in Parque Industrial, Neuquén and are the protagonists of what is known as primary production. “It means that we develop and obtain our own raw material, in this case mustard. Not everyone knows that mustard is a plant, from which we take advantage of the grain, which is found inside a pod,” he told El Comedor in LM Neuquén.
“In general, it is an input that is imported (the grain is bought from an outside processor and we work with that). At Arytza we decided to handle everything from the source, from the base. There the added value arises that is given to what is throughout the sowing and cultivation process, up to the production of the different varieties of mustard that we offer. Some data that reflects this added value: our crops are organic, our entire line is Gluten Free, and we do not add any type of preservative artificial ”, added Leo Merlo enthusiastically.
Arytza products are used by the consecrated Chef Mauricio Colagreco in his hamburger chain CARNE, where former President Mauricio Macri used to eat.
Regarding the type of mustard and grain that they use, there are basically three varieties: white or brassica hirta, yellow / brown or brassica juncea, and black or brassica nigra.
The grains produced by Arytza are brown mustard -brassica juncea- of great qualitative performance. Due to a question of the type of soil in northern Patagonia, positive attributes were detected such as the quality of the grain in its peel-pulp ratio, and in pungency, for example.
Arytza supplies itself with its own grain harvest, mainly in seven types of elaborated mustard varieties: Dijon, Antigua, a la Miel, with Fine Herbs, German, Unsalted and Classic. They also take advantage of the peel of the grains, which turns out to be Mustard Bran, very good for all kinds of baked goods.
In addition to making mustards, sauces and spices, they recently launched a line of homemade mayonnaise. “We have been testing recipes for three years. The innovations in our portfolio involve time in research and development; in this case, we took the path together with a laboratory and a technical director. To make the mayonnaises we re-floated the spirit of Arytza, as every time that we face a new product. That is, think about how the dressing or sauce originated a long time ago – originally – and reflect that in the hands of current technology, “said Leo.
“Always under the usual parameters that are the strength of Arytza: offering 100% natural products, without additives or artificial preservatives, and gluten-free. Achieving a product that needs to last several months, using only natural stabilizers, was a great challenge. And It is in line with our idea of quality. Our mayonnaises have 70% oil called “high oleic” and withstand high temperatures. Other mayonnaises that can be found in the gondolas have between 15% and 22% oil. an absolutely relevant variable. We also put pasteurized dehydrated egg, and a mix of natural preservatives that are part of our development, we use organic lemon juice, natural garlic and are suitable for celiacs “, added Merlo.
Arytza was recognized as one of the first “B” Companies in Argentina. The so-called “B Corps community” is a global movement promoting a New Economy. It is a network that spans every continent, uniting for-profit companies that use the power of business to develop a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Arytza joins other pioneering companies in the region, but the global view is the same: “What is the point of an economy that grows financially and that by its very nature generates growing inequality, runs out of water and other resources on Earth?” , concluded Merlo, basing his commitment to nature and the environment.