High quality olive oil from South Africa
In addition to excellent wine, the winegrowers in South Africa are increasingly producing particularly high-quality olive oils, which they obtain from their own cultivated olive groves. In the Europe, the tradition of olive oil cultivation dates back to ancient times. The oldest olive tree in the world on Crete, which is around 4,000 years old, is considered to be a primeval tree, as it is the source of around one thousand cultivated sub-varieties. But South Africa does not need to hide behind the giants from Europe, because even though the production of olive oil is not too old, the oils convince by their particularly pure and high quality. In 1893 olive trees were planted for the first time in Paarl, which had previously been brought from California. After only 14 years the farmer Jan Minnaar succeeded in winning the prize for the best olive oil of the British Empire after an exhibition in England. In the South African olive groves mainly Italian olive varieties can be found, because Ferdinando Costa from Genoa planted the first trees from native olives in 1925, which quickly became popular with other farmers.
Popular South African olive varieties
The older the olive tree, the more productive and juicy the small stone fruits become. In combination with perfect climatic conditions of about 15 to 20 degrees and sufficient rainfall, the harvest will be successful. The trees are mainly planted in the Western Cape. Between March and July the olives are plucked by hand and processed immediately. In order to reach the quality level "Extra Virgin", the untreated oily juice of the olive is separated from its core and the fruit water by cold pressing, without chemical additives - but purely mechanically. The standards have been set by the voluntary association CTC (Commitment to compliance) with around one hundred members. A seal of approval is only awarded if the olives come from South Africa to 100 percent and no toxins are used in the processing.
Used and preferred olive varieties of the South Africans are for example Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina or Mission. Frantoio olives are rather small and oval in shape, with a slight hint of hazelnut flavour. The fruity and aromatic stone fruit comes from Tuscany. On the other hand, the Leccino variety olives are relatively large and have a lot of flesh. They have a soft and smooth taste. Another Italian variety is the Coratina from Apulia. This is used almost exclusively for the production of olive oil and is only harvested when its colour changes from green to black. Originally from California, it was already cultivated in the 18th century on barren and dry soils. Its herbal notes and grassy aromas can be used both as a table olive and for oil production. Particularly high-quality olive oils from South Africa can be recognized by their intensive scent and a slight scratching in the throat.
Extra Virgin olive oils from our South African winemakers
Wineries from South Africa are increasingly expanding their cultivation to include olives. Not only South African wine can taste particularly good with food, but also olive oil. It can be used, for example, as a marinade or for frying fish, vegetables and meat. Olive oils are also excellent for conserving cheese or refining salads. Besides the excellent red wines, the Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate is also known for its excellent extra virgin olive oils. The taste palette ranges from fresh citrus aromas to fruity and spicy nuances. The Tokara Winery offers Mission and Frantoio olive oils with spicy aromas. The two olive oils of Babylonstoren are made from Frantoio and Coratina olives and are characterized by a nutty nuance accompanied by mint and floral aromas. The olive oils of Hidden Valley and Kleinood are also distinguished by their high quality and the taste of almonds, walnuts and truffles. The range of South African olive oils is constantly growing and their high quality delights people all over the world.