Give a Local Olive Oil this Season: The ABSA Top 10 Olive Oils 2020 Gift List

Words: Crush

SA Olive 2020 ABSA winners

Olive oil is the staple in the homes of foodies and so makes for a thoughtful festive gift. These are all produced here on home soil and we love gifting local. To inspire you, we’ve listed the recently awarded ABSA Top 10 Olive Oils 2020 – this is our olive oil gift list for 2020.

Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The farm is predominately planted with only Italian olive varieties. Morgenster’s oils are extracted by a state-of-the-art Pieralisi olive press in a temperature-controlled process, which retains the lovely flavours, aromas and health-giving characteristics of the oil. The estate’s first olive oils were released into the market in 1998, made in the purest way possible, with no additives.

For over a decade Morgenster extra virgin olive oil has received some the highest accolades in the world from significant international competitions.

Morgenster produces unique South African extra virgin olive oils that are high in antioxidants and good fats, promoting a delicious and healthy lifestyle.

Style: Medium
Cultivars used for this oil: Blend of various Italian cultivars known for the superior oil that they produce. FS17, Don Carlo, Frantoio, Other
Litres produced: 40,000L
Colour: An intense limpid golden yellow colour, with light green hues.

Tasting Notes: Its aroma is clean and elegant, with hints of artichoke, tomatoes and wild chicory, together with notes of mint, rosemary and sage. Its taste is full and strong, with a spicy flavour of black pepper and a distinct note of almonds. Bitterness is definite and pungency is distinct.

Pairing Suggestions: Morgenster’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil makes a fabulous salad dressing. Drizzle over toasted bruschetta, Italian or other breads instead of butter. It makes excellent mayonnaise and is ideal on salmon appetisers, legume salads, marinated fish and roast vegetables. Serve it on baby potatoes, bean purée, pasta with tomato sauce, steamed shrimps, tuna tartar, roast rabbit, grilled poultry or goats cheese.

You can find this olive oil on their website. | Facebook | Instagram 


ABSA Top 10 2020 Rio Largo

Owned by Nick and Brenda Wilkinson, RIO LARGO comprises olive orchards, vines, an olive specific nursery and a state of the art OLIOMIO olive processing and bottling plant. The terroir, with water on demand from the Breede River and Brandvlei Irrigation System, is perfect for olive growing with high sunshine hours, cold winters and minimal disease.

Summer daytime temperatures can be high, but the afternoon south-easterly breezes from Cape Agulhas, the “wind doctor” in local parlance, brings relief and cool nights.

Add superior Italian cultivars, state of the art processing facilities, ideal storage facilities and owner-driven passion to continually strive for better and you have a winning recipe.

RIO LARGO OLIVE ESTATE uses various cultivars; Frantoio, Leccino, Mission, FS-17 and Coratino. All cultivars originate from Italy and are known to complement each other in making up a well- balanced extra virgin olive oil. RIO LARGO EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is a blend of these cultivars grown and pressed on the estate. Each cultivar is handpicked, pressed and stored separately in nitrogen sealed stainless steel tanks to maintain freshness.

Oils are then individually tested before blending to achieve a mild, not too peppery, fruity and flavoursome oil, consistently winning local and international awards since 2010.

RIO LARGO OLIVE ESTATE adopts biological farming methods for sustainable agriculture by “putting more back then you take out” together with overall concern for protecting the environment for future generations.

Style: Delicate
Cultivar used for this oil: Frantoio
Litres produced: 5,000L

Tasting Notes: Fresh green notes, almonds and green banana with a nuance of citrus blossom. Nutty on the palate (creamy) with gentle persistency and soft bitterness.

Pairing Suggestions: Use with delicate dishes like fish, carpaccio and vegetables like peas, green beans, butter lettuce, mangetout and courgette. Fabulous drizzled over salads too.

You can shop the Rio Largo range online or at selected @Home, Spar and Checkers stores around the country. | Facebook | Instagram

Zoetigheyd Frantoio


Zoetigheyd lies at the foot of the Rooiberg in the Breede River Valley. Kissed by abundant sunshine, rich alluvial soil and the sweetness of the Renosterveld, this farm produces olives of the very highest grade. These are harvested in the cool morning air and immediately pressed, resulting in the flavours of the olive grove arriving in your kitchen.

A key player in bringing you this product is Daniel who, for 15 years, has been tending the trees as farm manager. His skills as a taster are constantly being refined and he has developed a passion for blending. Peter and Daniel combine their love for the earth, farming, and commitment to quality, bringing to the market some very beautiful olive oils.

Peter Unite indulged his passion for growing food and gourmet cooking 20 years ago by buying a piece of land and planting olive trees. His passion was to produce really good olive oil and at the same time build the exhausted soil into a life-giving sustainable and productive farm.

Over the years everything has come together as hoped and today Zoetigheyd farm produces some of the finest and healthiest olive oil in the country.

Daniel, who started as a farm labourer, has been training in all aspects of olive production and is now Peter’s right-hand man, managing all facets of the farm and is an astute taster too. Peter is a qualified chef, having trained in Europe and appreciates the importance of complementing great food with life-giving premium grade olive oil.

Style: Medium
Cultivars used for this oil: Frantoio
Litres produced: 3,000L

Tasting Notes: fruits of green ripe olives, grass, walnuts, and tomatoes.

Pairing Suggestions: The delicate aroma, coupled with the full-bodied fresh flavours of the olive grove (banana, fresh tomato and olive leaf, artichoke and fresh and ripe olives ), make this the gourmet chef’s delight. This medium intensity oil pairs perfectly with fish, light cuts of red meat, and of course, it complements any wonderful salad or steamed vegetables. It brings a slice of fresh ciabatta to life.

PG Fruit EVOO – Pai Parakore

ABSA Top 10 2020 PG Fruit

PG Fruit Olive Estate is located in Bosssieveld, just 10km outside Villiersdorp. Their focus is to produce ethically produced olive products of exceptional quality that are affordable. All of their olives are handpicked and processed on the farm to produce Gold award-winning fermented table olives and extra virgin olive oil. The “PG” in PG Fruit means “Pure Goodness”. They use innovative an innovative foil pouch packaging for some of their oil that may not be traditional, but has superior protection for olive oil and reduces the carbon footprint by 55% compared to glass.

“Pai Parakore” is the Maori term for pure goodness. In this spirit, clean and pure farming practices and sustainable production methods come together.

No artificial preservatives or colourants are used in all aspects of production and they offer SO2-free ranges of cider vinegar, sun-dried fruit, raw honey and a host of olive products.

They practice bioethical farming. Farming close to nature leads to the exceptional quality of olives and products that are affordable and with the smallest carbon footprint around. They strive to have excellent quality products available locally through social networking and food clubs that support ethically produced produce around the Western Cape. You will find the owners, Gerhard or Ciska du Toit personally serving you at local weekly farmer’s markets. With a wealth of information and maybe some tips on how to grow and use your own olives in the garden, it’s always a treat for them to interact with customers.

Style: Medium
Cultivars used for this oil: Frantoio 20% Mission 80%
Litres produced: 12 000L

Tasting Notes: Fruity extra virgin olive oil made from ripe and green olives. Fruity nose with green notes of herb, tomato and walnut.

Pairing Suggestions: Best used raw in Mediterranean style salads, pizza or roasted vegetables. Paired with peppery greens and Parmesan cheese.

PG Fruit EVOO is available to buy directly from their farm stall at the Hermanus Country Market or in Greyton opposite the tourist centre every Saturday morning. They are also available online and at a handful of delis in Cape Town. For more information visit their website for more information. | Facebook | Instagram 

Chaloner EVOO The Peregrine Limited Edition

ABSA Top 10 2020 Chaloner The Peregrine

The Falcon’s Nest Farm in the Blaauwklippen Valley of the Stellenbosch Mountains is home to Perry and Karen Chaloner and is where they produce their award-winning olive oils and other artisanal products. When they purchased the farm in 1992, there was nothing there apart from an expanse of land overgrown with alien vegetation. After seven years of hard work and patience, the farm started to flourish with fruit trees bearing olives, plums, lemons and Seville oranges.

As well as enjoying a Mediterranean climate perfectly suited to cultivating olives, the farm falls within a temperate micro-climate region that’s unique to Stellenbosch. While this means lower yields, the spin-off benefit is enhanced taste.

Another distinguishing feature of the farm’s site is its decomposed granite soils, which lend the olive oils their diverse and unusual flavours. Over the past two decades, the initial half hectare of olive trees has grown to 7000 and includes nine different varietals. Each is bottled individually, as well as various cultivars blended to produce the Chaloner EVOO Mountain oil and The Peregrine Limited Edition oil.

Perry Chaloner is the man behind the Chaloner range of artisanal products. He began experimenting with traditional jam recipes using the fruits that were flourishing on his 14- hectare farm to create preserves and tapenades with unique flavour combinations. He shared his creations with friends and family and their response was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. And so, based on the finest farm-grown ingredients, the range of innovative, hand-crafted, premium quality products was developed.

Chaloner’s passion and dedication to quality extend to every aspect of the development process and as such he has control of the whole production line – from farm to bottle to table. The olives are grown in granite soils aided by biodynamic cultivation, pressed within 24 hours of picking and bottled on the estate.

Style: Medium
Cultivars used for this oil: Nocellara, Coratina, Favalosa
Litres produced: 500 L

Tasting Notes: Fruit of green and ripe olives, olive leaf, green tomato, artichoke, green tea, dry herbs, apple skin

Pairing Suggestions: Chaloner THE PEREGRINE is a very fruity, fresh, well balanced, intense oil, with aromas of green tomato and herbs and pairs well with stronger flavoured dishes. Perfect with fresh ciabatta to experience the tasting notes of the oil. Drizzle over salads with peppery leaves such as rocket and watercress, and Caprese salad. It also pairs amazingly with roasted root vegetables, roasted tomatoes, onions and peppers. Also a great addition to spicy foods and hot soups, stews, and red meat.

Available at selected major retailers and delis across the country or shop online. | Facebook | Instagram

Kleinbergskloof Frantoio

ABSA Top 10 2020 Kleinbrgskloof

Kleinbergskloof Olive Estate is situated in the coastal village, Stilbaai, Western Cape, on the banks of the Goukou River. It was the advice of the late Dr Tol Pienaar, a previous director of the Kruger National Park, to plant olive trees. He was of the opinion that the characteristic limey soils of the area compared favourably with the most fertile soils in France and that olives produced here would have a very distinctive taste.

Today, Kleinbergskloof consists of 10ha of olive trees with a total of +- 4000 trees. Although the yield in this region is somewhat lower than that of the Western Cape, where the norm is around 10t/ha, the unique quality of the oil more than makes up for this.

The cultivars they grow on the farm and use for their Estate Blend ar Mission, Coratina, Leccino and Frantoio. They started producing olive oil 8 years ago.

They harvest the olives by hand. The picking, washing and sorting is done by workers from the area. They produce their own compost on the farm and combine traditional farming methods with modern technology. Kleinbergskloof produces Extra Virgin Cold Extracted Olive Oil and pressing is done on the farm.

Their proprietor and oil maker, Hennie Volschenk is doing what he loves and loves what he is doing. A retired chartered accountant, Hennie has always had a passion for farming. He finally fulfilled his dreams when he founded Kleinbergskloof in 2001 and started refining his olive and olive oil skills. Small details and quality are very important to him, characteristics you can taste in the award-winning oil that he produces.

Style: Delicate
Cultivar used for this oil: Frantoio
Litres produced: 1000L

Tasting Notes: This oil stood out when all olive varieties were tasted before blending. Its freshness and fruity character with tastes of almond from the ripe and green fruit created a perfect single-variety oil that had to be bottled. A very smooth oil with a subtle hint of texture that gives it great personality. This oil was made from the first Frantoio olives handpicked towards the end of a very warm and dry summer.

Pairing Suggestions: We recommend using this with mild salad greens, vegetable recipes, delicate dishes, grilled or roasted fish, mild cheeses and any other cooked dishes.

You can shop their olive oil range at their online shop and find stockists on their website. | Facebook | Instagram

Andante Intenso

ABSA Top 10 2020 Andante Intenso

Andante Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is made from olives grown on the Wêreldsgeluk Olive Estate, owned by Willie and Lisa Duminy’s family trust. It is situated near Porterville, North-East of Cape Town. The first trees were planted in March 2006. There are now 36 hectares under intensive cultivation, with about 35 000 trees of 8 cultivars. They are, Nocellara del Belice, from which their award-winning Andante Intenso is made, as well as Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina, Favolosa, Mission, Kalamata and Koroneiki.

Style: Intense
Cultivar used for this oil: Nocellara del Belice
Litres produced: 4500L

Tasting Notes: Intensely aromatic green olive, artichoke, and green tomato scents, with notes of fresh walnuts. Mildly bitter; latent persistent spice. Balanced, complex.

Pairing Suggestions: Great all-rounder. Excellent with tomato-based dishes, pasta sauces, tomato rocket and parmesan salad. Pairs beautifully with all meat dishes. Particularly good with rare T-bone or sirloin steak, done a la Fiorentina. Exciting with vanilla ice-cream and a small twist of rock salt (credit to Sue Langstaff). Delicious in rooibos tea (instead of milk) – it brings out the aroma beautifully.

Andante Intenso is available from Olive Branch Deli, Lifestyle Centre, Kloof Street, Cape Town, and is available at selected Woolworths stores. It can also be ordered online from the Andante website. | Facebook | Instagram

Mardouw XXV Intense EVOO

ABSA Top 10 2020 Mardouw

Mardouw Olive Estate, owned by the Verder family, is situated at the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains in the Breede River Valley in the Western Cape of South Africa. All Mardouw’s extra virgin olive oils are pure, natural oils made from hand-picked olives and same-day cold extraction of the best cultivars.

Mediterranean climate and fertile soil provide perfect conditions for Mardouw’s olive trees.

The entire production process takes place at the privately-owned Mardouw Olive Estate in Swellendam, South Africa – making all Mardouw products genuine “estate” products. After the unexpected passing of olive oil wizard Chris van Niekerk, Mardouw’s management team were assisted by olive oil consultant, Nico Loubser.

Style: Intense
Cultivars used for this oil: Coratina; Frantoio
Litres produced: 2000L

Tasting Notes: Intense, well balanced with a good mouthfeel. Positive attributes: the fruit of green and ripe olives, olive leaf, artichoke, walnut, tomato, rocket, pine seed. Fruity, bitter & peppery.

Pairing Suggestions: Great for salad dressings, drizzle over favourite Italian dishes & bread. Drizzle over fish, chicken & roast vegetables or stir-fries.

Available online on their website, also available at Woolworths, and selected PnP stores. | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Wildekrans Endless

ABSA Top 10 2020 Wildekrans

The Wildkrans farm was formerly known as ‘Keerweer’ or ‘Keerweder’, the title originally having been granted in 1864. The history of the farm before this date appears to have been part of the farm Rooiheuval, which was part of an original grant dating back to the early 18th century. In 1982, the first of the present vineyards were planted and the new wine cellar was built. From 2007, new vineyards comprising over 70 hectares were planted, including 30 hectares of plums and pears, as well as 14 hectares of olives. The owners, Amanda and Gary Harlow, have, with great pride and joy, restored every building on the farm, some having been in ruins and dating back over 150 years.

Braam Gericke has been a part of the team at Wildekrans since 2008 and says the farm is not just his place of work, but his home.

The first half-acre of olives were planted in 2019 as an experiment and this has grown to over 16 hectares now following great success with olive oil production.

The tight-knit team that works on producing the olives all work closely together and focus on producing small-batch oils of high quality and balance. Making the success of the oil the success of the whole dedicated team.

Style: medium

Cultivar used for this oil: Nocellara
Litres produced: 500L

Tasting Notes: Fruit of green and ripe olives, almond, walnut, fynbos, tropical fruit, pineapple and floral notes.

Pairing Suggestions: Fresh green salad, ciabatta bread with soup, any Thai dishes, fish, any curry dishes. It also works with blue cheese or any “rich” cheeses.

Cederberg Olives EVOO Frantoio

Cederberg ABSA top 10

Cederberg Olives EVOO is produced from orchards on the farm Mount Ceder, situated in a secluded valley in the Southern Cederberg. The first olive trees were planted in 2003. They have 52ha of which ±20% consist of oil varieties and the balance mainly Kalamata.

André Marais, a partner of Mount Ceder (Pty) Ltd, has been the dedicated and passionate oil maker since 2017. He has been personally involved with the making process from start to finish, always trying to strive for perfection.

Style: Delicate
Cultivar used for this oil: Frantoio
Litres produced: 5241L

Tasting notes: Fruit of green and ripe olives, apple, tropical fruit, almond and walnut.

Pairing Suggestions: Pairs perfectly with fish, pesto, fried eggs, good quality bread, and tender salad greens. This olive oil is a perfect dressing for all your festive meals.

For sale at Mount Ceder and other farm stalls in the Cederberg. Info and orders via email.

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