Enter the Wonderful World of the Olive Branch Deli

Words: Tam Selley

If the idea of shopping at an old-school community grocer appeals to you – where personal service is everything and the products stocked are hand-picked for their traceability and quality, then the Olive Branch Deli awaits you. This gorgeous store is like a secret portal into an old-world haven of organic, local and nutritious delights, owned and run by Cypriot brother and sister duo Omeros and Hêlêne Demetriou.

The Birth of The Olive Branch Deli

The siblings took the Olive Branch Deli from its former structure – a couple of tables operating outside their family watchmaking business – to the established store we now know and love. They run their business as a ‘community grocer’ with an exceptionally humble philosophy and organic nature of trade, and this ideal runs true through every aspect of the store.

This truly authentic and organic outlook goes further than just their supply chain, it applies even when it comes to marketing – everything is natural, simple and organic.

Olive Branch Deli

Take a walk on the aisle side

Inconspicuously tucked away in the Lifestyle on Kloof shopping centre in Gardens, Olive Branch Deli can be found (or easily missed) on the right-hand side of the Woolies entrance.

The corridor leading into the deli is lined with colourful artisanal teas, chocolates, local coffees, fresh figs and wooden cabinets filled with exotic ointments.

The short walkway guides you into the mid-war 1920s-style interior, boasting an array of local and foreign products stacked along the tall walls of the deli, akin to an old-school library – rolling ladder included.

The lovely duo, Omeros and Hêlêne, have a magical presence that fills the entire store. They receive their patrons with warm open arms, ready to assist in any way possible. Hêlêne even adds a generous smear of their divine chilli sauce to my sarmies every time I buy one.

Olive Branch Deli

Conscious Eating

The concept of the community grocer is to offer a platform where market vendors in and around Cape Town can sell their local and seasonal goods outside of market days. As such, Olive Branch Deli provides a myriad of local brands and the most delicious selection of goods that will keep you wandering around the store for hours.

The first fridge has an enormous and mouth-watering display of marinated olive offerings, with their homemade smoked olives catching our attention.

Included in this display is an arrangement of locally sourced, organic and free-range meats, cheeses, yoghurt, veggies, labneh, hummus, tabbouleh and tofu. This, of course, changes according to what the season is offering, as well as whatever treats Hêlêne and Omeros decide to bring in that day.

Olive Branch Deli

Pass on over to the ceiling-high shelves all snugly packed with teas, biscuits, jams, sauces, nougats, dressings as well as Asian and European ingredients. Jump on the rolling ladder and gracefully glide your way over to the even more impressive selection of local olive oils. Just kidding – we have not tried this, don’t break their rolling ladder.

But do make like bread and soak up all the olive oil goodness that Olive Branch Deli has to offer. They have an inordinate amount of proudly South African olive oils, as well as their very own Olive Branch-branded olive oil called EHOO – this stands for Early Harvest Olive Oil, and uses young green olives which produce oils and rich polyphenols that have wonderful health and medicinal properties.

Speaking of bread, their self-proclaimed bread shrine boasts organic and natural freshly milled whole-grain flour with no additives. They source locally produced heirloom wheat, maize and grains to stone mill into their beautiful whole-grain flours on offer.

Spice up your life

If you thought things couldn’t get any more gratifying, feast your eyes on what is probably our favourite addition to the store – the ‘Spice Apothecary’.

This oversized spice rack looks like professor Slughorn’s pantry of potions.

With old-world charm, the spice corner exudes incredible aromas from giant handwritten jars, boasting over 450 unique variations of spice and herbs.

The variety of spices here is mind-boggling and the cost-by-weight system allows you to try out small portions of the spices and herbs at a time, without buying a large pre-packaged amount that may otherwise go to waste. This means more saving of the environment and money – yay!

Olive Branch Deli

Olive Branch Deli is also all about promoting health and nutrition. With the guidance from local holistic healers, Olive Branch has sourced and now offers a number of ingredients designed to heal and promote wellbeing. Such products include kombucha, fermented products, tonics, teas and fresh produce. You can even buy your own selection of seeds, legumes, dried fruits and heirloom seeds from their seed counter in self-provided packaging (also by weight).

Olive Branch Deli

Not just your average deli…

In addition to all the wonderful edibles, Olive Branch Deli sells a number of tools, plating mechanisms and utensils to curate the cooking experience to every individual’s needs. From mixologist tools and glass straws to numerous educational books covering a wide variety of foodie literature and know-how about SA cuisine and local foraging. This place is pretty much the gastronomic definition of a gold mine.

So pick up your groceries, wander through time and space as you explore the countless mesmerising goodies provided for your perusal. Be sure to grab a delicious brownie or sarmie (or both) at the counter – they are always amazing!

Shake hands with the wonderful owners of the Olive Branch Deli as you depart the store. You can thank us later.

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  1. This store is indeed worthy of a visit, as if you have been once you will definitely return! The experience is personable, knowledgable , respectful, beautiful and humble – where else do you have that?

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