The 2017 ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category Winners & The Perfect Recipe

Words: Crush

The 2017 ABSA Top 10 awards were announced in September 2017 with 10 worthy winners taking the top honours. The awards are divided into 3 categories – delicate, medium and intense and oils are awarded accordingly. This year’s top ABSA Top 10 oils included 2 delicate oils, 2 medium oils and 6 intense oils and each one is made by a top local producer. Congratulations to the 6 winners in the ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category – De Rustica, Kransfontein, Mardouw, Morgenster, Marbrin and Porteville Olives.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category


ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category Winning Oils

De Rustica

De Rustica is situated in the Southern Cape in the De Rust area, close to the town of Oudtshoorn. The climate is ideal; cool winters where snowfall covers the Swartberg mountains but lower valleys remain frost free and hot summers where fruit can set and grow. To date, they have planted 125-hectares of olive trees on the estate.  Carefully selected Italian cultivars are handpicked and pressed on the estate.  The microclimate at De Rustica is uniquely suitable for producing world-class extra virgin olive oil to the olive-orchard and olive-press standards set by the De Rustica Estate.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category Winning Oil: Estate Collection – Coratina
Cultivars: Coratina
Litres produced: 500 l
Best: Drizzled over potatoes, fish, pork and roast chicken.
Where to buy:

The season was very hot and the harvest was small, which challenged Abraham to achieve the quality that we strive for.

De Rustica’s Olive Oil Producer

De Rustica was founded by Mr Rob Still, a successful South African mining entrepreneur. He commissioned a study to establish the optimum place to establish his olive farm. After extensive research and chemical analysis of soils, the study showed that the Klein Karoo, with its cold winters and warm summers, would best suit his olive trees and so he set about finding the right farm. He bought the Oude Muragie and Le Roux farms upon which the estate now rests. In late 2006, he began to plant the olive orchards and in 2008, extended the olive orchard footprint with the acquisition of the Grootkruis properties. De Rustica is constantly improving its methods, equipment and standards in an effort to continue to produce world-class extra virgin olive oil and is gratified that these efforts have again been recognized. Although De Rustica has only been in operation since 2012, their products have been winning awards since 2015. De Rustica olive oils have also received awards in two international competitions.

Contact: | Facebook


Kransfontein Estate is a picturesque estate on the banks of the Goukou River, Stillbay, featuring north facing limestone terraces with fresh spring water. The farm, rich in history with lush olive trees, beautiful architecture, serenity and abundance, is the home of award-winning olive oils.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category Winning Oil: Kransfontein Coratina EVOO.
Cultivars: Coratina
Litres produced: 1200 l
Tasting notes: fruit of green and ripe olives, olive leaf, artichoke, tomato, strong peppery.
Best paired with: pasta, baked vegetables and fresh salads.
Where to buy: at Kransfontein Farm Deli or OK Stillbay and Woolworths.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category
ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category

Kransfontein’s Olive Oil Producer

Adv A P Joubert bought Kransfontein in 2000 and planted 10 000 olive trees on 20 hectares.



Mediterranean climate and soil conditions at the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains in the Western Cape, blending only the best cultivars, gentle handpicking of harvest and cold extraction within 6 hours after harvest, ensure the unique, fruity characteristics of Mardouw’s Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category Winning Oil: Mardouw XXV Intense Limited Edition.
Cultivars: Coratina
Litres produced: 570 L
Tasting notes: fruit of green olive, freshly cut grass, tomato leaf and artichoke, with pleasant bitterness with a peppery punch.
Best paired with: freshly made salads and pasta dishes.
Where to buy:

Small harvest as the hot, dry weather has been the challenge to overcome, yet beautiful fruit with lots of flavour have emerged. Harvest started two weeks earlier than normal but resulted in presenting the market with a well balanced EVOO.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category
ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category

Mardouw Olive Oil Producer

The first trees were planted in 2002 and even though they are fairly new in the market, Mardouw is already making a statement with good quality EVOO all year round. Mardouw is continuously improving at all production levels, with super high-density plantings, continuous monitoring of moisture levels in groves, optimal picking, blending and bottling of EVOO, with FSSC 22000 accreditation.


Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate in Somerset West was bought in 1992 by Italian owner, Giulio Bertrand. He has turned it into a thriving farm and favoured visitor destination, in pursuit of his objectives of producing the best Bordeaux style wine outside of France and the best Italian style olive oil outside of Italy. His philosophy of ‘Where there is quality there is no compromise’ has garnered significant international awards and recognition of the quality of his products, which are exported to over 30 countries.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category Winning Oil: Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Cultivars: Secret blend of FS17, Frantoio, Peranzana, Noc, Coratina and other Italian cultivars.
Litres produced: 80 000 l
Tasting notes: The first whiff is intense freshly cut grass. By warming the oil slightly with your hand the secondary aromas of green tomatoes, almonds, artichokes and perhaps even green apples, will become far more evident.
Where to buy: Selected retailers and delicatessens nationwide.

We experienced dry hot weather in the period building up to harvest. Timing of the harvest of each cultivar was very important. The new Pieralisi press demonstrated its impressive capacity and quality of output and Morgenster rates its 2017 olive oil as being of excellent quality.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category
ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category

Morgenster’s Olive Oil Producer

Giulio Bertrand approached the Olive Oil Research Institute of Italy and with Professor Fontanazza in the early ‘90s, chose 14 olive cultivars from different Italian regions, each with discernible attributes and a reputation for producing exceptional olive oil. From these, he established 55 ha of olive groves and uses the most up to date equipment and expertise in the world to produce his flagship Morgenster extra virgin olive oil. For over 10 years this secret blend of 14 Italian varieties has consistently been judged as one of the best olive oils in the world.

In early 2017, Bertrand imported and installed the world’s latest Pieralisi olive press in time to extract the 2017 olive harvest. It is the first of its kind in South Africa and features a double crusher and proto reactor, which ensure greater efficiency and the retention of even better flavour.  The fully automated Leopard separator ensures that the highest quality oil is produced with the world’s latest separation technology.


Small, family-run, boutique olive farm nestled in the renowned Robertson Breede River Valley surrounded by the Langeberg and Riviersonderend Mountains. We extract extra virgin olive oil and process our own unique range of table olives, tapenade and other related products.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category Winning Oil: Marbrin Olive Growers Directors Reserve.
Cultivars: Frantoio, Coratina, Mission and Leccino.
Litres produced: 5000 l
Tasting notes: a well-balanced clean and Intense EVOO with green, bitter fruit on the palate and a spicy, lingering finish.
Best: poured over pasta or salads as a table oil, used as a marinade, to make an intense olive oil mashed potato, even great mixed in to make an olive oil ice cream.
Where to buy: online, various delis in and around Cape Town, such as The Food Barn, Giovanni’s, The Olive Branch Deli, Chardonnay Deli.

Oil maker, Clive Heymans, said that it was a tough year for the industry due to the lack of olives. The quantity is down, but the quality is still at a premium level. South Africa is earning a good reputation on the international stage for their quality EVOO.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category
ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category

Marbrin Olive Oil Producer

The farm was started by Peter Coetsee in 1997 and produced the first table olives and extra virgin olive oils in 2011. Briony (Peter’s daughter) and her partner Clive, returned from the UK in 2012 to take the farm to the next level. New products and on-site tastings have earned them the number one spot on Tripadvisor for ‘Things To Do in Robertson’. Marbrin have won Gold for the past 7 years (every year entered) at the annual SA Olive Oil Awards and were voted one of ABSA’s Top 5 EVOO’s in 2016. | Facebook

Porterville Olives

The Andante Intenso Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made on the family-run and owned Wêreldsgeluk Olive Estate. The estate is situated near Porterville in the foothills of the Winterhoek mountain range, about 130 km North-East of Cape Town.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category Winning Oil: Andante Intenso.
Cultivar: Nocellara del Belice.
Litres produced: 2315 l
Tasting notes: Andante Intenso Extra Virgin Olive Oil has aromas of roast tomatoes, green herbs, mint, and underlying honey and tastes of lightly steamed cabbage with tingling chilli heat on the back palate. There is some bitterness with tannic spinach and a long walnut finish. It’s complex, balanced and harmonious.
Best paired with: This oil is best paired with simple Mediterranean dishes like a Caprese or Greek salad.

ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category
ABSA TOP 10 Olive Oils Intense Category

Intense style extra virgin olive oils are robustly flavoured with distinct bitterness and pungency. They showcase the pepperiness and intense fruit flavours of the olive. They are superb for cooking with, as well as for drizzling over salads and dipping, for those who enjoy those full-bodied characteristics.

Make this Veggie & Ricotta Quiche Recipe Using an Intense Style EVOOVeggie Ricotta quiche with an olive oil and parmesan crust

See the winners of the ABSA Top 10 EVOO in the delicate and medium categories and the recipes we created using them.

Learn more about tasting olive oil here. Also, learn the important differences between extra virgin olive oil and other olive oil varieties.

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