A Selection of South Africa’s Best Local Olive Oils
We’re very fortunate in South Africa to have many dedicated and passionate producers that are producing extra virgin olive oils of incredibly high quality. Across the board, South African olive oils have scooped numerous international awards putting them in the same league as countries that have been producing it for centuries. With sustainable agricultural practices and cold extraction processes, these producers are able to produce top quality olive oils that are rich in antioxidants and biophenols.
Our unique, Mediterranean-like climate and terroir create perfect conditions for growing healthy olives that produce the very best olive oils. We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite 100% local olive oils.
Rio Largo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Owned by Nick and Brenda Wilkinson, RIO LARGO OLIVE ESTATE comprises olive orchards, vines, an olive specific nursery and an olive processing and bottling plant.
RIO LARGO EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is an award-winning blend of cultivars (Frantoio, Leccino, FS17 and Coratina). Each cultivar is hand-picked at harvest time (March to July) processed with passion and stored separately in nitrogen sealed stainless steel tanks; only bottled on order to maintain freshness. Oils are then individually tasted and tested for compliance with the SA Olive Association before blending to achieve award winning quality. Nick Wilkinson, Master Miller UC DAVIS 2015, has won top local and international awards for RIO LARGO since 2010, bring home GOLD each year- consistently great quality in every drop. Available in the RIO LARGO tubes – on tap! TRY IT-YOU’LL LOVE IT!
Origin: The banks of the Breede River in the Scherpenheuwel Valley which lies between Worcester and Robertson.
Tasting Notes: mild, not too peppery, fruity and flavoursome. Use generously!
Price: R199 (1l on tap)
Recipe: Make this tasty dish of Cream Cheese and Olive Stuffed Chicken Breast with
Rio Largo’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Willow Creek Directors’ Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Willow Creek Olive Estate lies in the Nuy Valley between Worcester and Robertson in the Western Cape and is blessed with a terroir perfectly suited for the cultivation of olives. Beneath Rabie Mountain the trees thrive in deep lime soil, while a climate of extremes improves flavour profiles.
Willow Creek earned a position for South Africa on the list of global champions following the publishing of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil World Rankings (www.evoowr.org). It is the third consecutive year that Willow Creek is the only South African producer included in the Top 100 producers list.
Origin: Nuy Valley, Worcester.
Tasting Notes: the estate’s 2017 Directors’ Reserve is a blend of Don Carlo, Mission and Piqual cultivars. The complex aroma reminds of artichokes, asparagus and green vegetables accentuated with notes of tomato vines. The aromas follow through on the palate and the olive oil is well-balanced with a substantial bitterness and pungency.
Price: R120 (500 ml)
Recipe: Make this recipe of Labneh with Flatbreads and drizzle generously with olive oil.
Andante Forte Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Andante Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from olives grown on the Wêreldsgeluk Estate near Porterville. Cultivation, harvest timing and milling are directed at producing the finest quality EVOO with a focus on complex, harmonious flavours and maximising biophenols for their extraordinary health benefits. Farming practices are ethical, sustainable and natural. A modern two-phase mill is used for cold-extraction and no artificial additives are used. The first trees were planted in March 2006 and today there are 36 hectares with about 36 000 trees (7 cultivars) under cultivation in an intensive system.
Blend: single varietal – Favolosa (FS-17).
Tasting Notes: intensely fruity aroma of celery, roasted tomatoes, and wild herbs. Complex palate of fresh greens, wild rocket and mustard leaves. Balanced and harmonious.
Price: R90 (375ml) R55 (250ml)
Recipe: Make these delicious Orange and Cumin Pork Belly Skewers on the braai.
Tokara Misson Single Variety Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tokara is a name known in the wine world but it has also cemented itself as a producer of high quality extra virgin olive oils. In 2000 the first groves were planted on the estate, which clings to the side of the Helshoogte pass and celebrates unparalleled views over the valley. Now, 22-hectares of the estate are under cultivation with Coratina, Leccino, Frantoi and Mission olives.
Blend: single varietal Mission
Tasting Notes: mission is a medium-intensity fruity oil, with lovely apple notes on the nose and a walnut aftertaste. It is an ideal all-round oil.
Price: R 95 (500 ml)
Recipe: We love the simplicity of this Baby Beetroot Salad with a Herby Pesto Dressing.
Prince Albert Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The Badenhorst family have been successful farmers for many years and this experience helped them identify the small hamlet of Prince Albert, in the Karoo, as a perfect place to grow olives. Much research later, they established groves to grow olives and thereafter harvested and pressed their first oils which are packaged in their now trademark yellow tin. The Badenhorsts are the same family that produce wine under the AA Badenhorst Family Wines and Secateurs labels – a talented family indeed!
Origin: Prince Albert, Karoo
Blend: Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina, Barnea, Dor Carlo, Koroneiki or Favolosa varieties.
Tasting Notes: green fruit, grass & artichoke plus a hint of ripe olives.
Price: R99 (500 ml)
Recipe: Prepare these tasty Smoked Snoek Fish Bites with Sweet Potato Wedges
Chaloner Mountain Oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The home of Chaloner is in Stellenbosch, where entrepreneur, Perry Chaloner, produces a premium range of preserves and pantry items. Included in this are their award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oils. The olive groves are located on the slopes of the Stellenbosch Mountains where they are bio dynamically farmed and pressed within 24-hours of harvesting. Pair up Chaloner Mountain Oil EVOO with any one of their delicious pantry favourites such as tapenade or their yummy olive and chilli marmalade. Just add cheese and bread and you have the makings of an amazing cheeseboard.
Blend: 8 different cultivars
Tasting Notes: green olives, nutty and slightly grassy notes. A good structure is evident within the oil and also shows hints of artichoke, pine seeds and slight nuances of unripe tomatoes. On the palate, an excellent balance of fruit and bitter is displayed, with good walnut flavours and hints of pine seeds and artichokes.
Price: R179 (500 ml)
Recipe: Confit Duck Legs with Red Onion Marmalade is a dish that takes some time to prepare but the flavour and tenderness makes it so worth it.
Hemelrand Single Grove Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Hemelrand Farm can be found in the Hemel en Aarde Valley and is owned and operated by Hans and Mary Ann Evenhuis. The couple holidayed in New Zealand and were inspired by the flourishing groves on Waiheke Island. Upon their return, they decided to move down from Jozi and set up shop, so to speak, on a farm in the valley. Catch them every Saturday morning at the Hermanuspietersfontein Market.
Origin: Hemel en Aarde Valley
Blend: Single varietal Favolosa olives (FS17).
Price: R145 (1 L)
Recipe: These Five Fabulous Foccacias are perfect for entertaining.
Riverbend Frantoio Late Harvest EVOO
At the base of the Roodeberg Mountain, along the banks of the Breede River, is the Riverbend farm. Olives are cultivated and then hand-picked at optimum ripeness.They are then cold extracted on the farm to produce a smooth extra virgin olive oil. The Breede River runs through the farm and separates the groves from the processing area, so the olives are picked and then ferried across by boat!
Origin: Breede River valley between Robertson and Worcester.
Blend: single variety Frantoio.
Tasting Notes: Fruity with green grass and nutty notes. A balanced nutty oil, with hints of fresh herbs, almonds and artichoke.
Price: R150 (1 L)
Recipe: Make this hearty Risotto with Parmesan, Mushrooms and Saffron.
De Rustica Single Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Favalosa
De Rustica hails from De rust, a small town just outside of Oudtshoorn at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. They have been producing award-winning olive oil for a number of years and have just very recently launched their single varietal Estate Collection. Immediate pressing ensures that only fresh, high-quality olives brimming with flavour and antioxidants are used in the making of all De Rustica olive oils.
Origin: De Rust, Karoo
Blend: single varietal Favalosa
Tasting Notes: Complex on nose and palate, green mouthfeel, attractive finish, bitterness lingers.
When buying extra virgin olive oil, look out for bottles bearing the SA Olive seal, the official representative body of the South African olive industry. It’s always important to support local enterprises and we love that the SA Olive seal guarantees that when you choose an extra virgin olive oil, you can expect to experience all the enjoyment and benefits of a fresh oil extracted from newly harvested olives.
The seal is a guarantee of product authenticity, confirming that the producer commits to quality standards, including chemical and taste requirements. Samples of olive oil are regularly submitted to accredited laboratories for chemical analyses and to the SA Olive Organoleptic Tasting Panel for tasting to confirm the absence of defects, in line with internationally accepted methods.
Read about why you should be buying extra virgin olive oil versus just olive oil.
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