Celebrating SA’s Finest Liquid Gold at the Swartland EVOO Long Table Event
My whole perception and attitude towards Extra Virgin Olive Oil has forever been changed, thanks to the Swartland EVOO Long Table event.
One expects exciting things from a wine tasting and pairing, but what about an extra virgin olive oil tasting and pairing – with wine. What about it? Absolute magic, that’s what.
The Swartland EVOO Long Table Degustation
The Swartland EVOO Long Table event that took place on the 23rd of November 2019 completely transformed my attitude towards olive oil, and took my taste buds on one incredible adventure.
The Swartland Long Table Degustation event, hosted by Susan and Derek at the Olive Boutique, gave us the works. Olive expert and SA Olive tasting panel founding member, Linda Costa, walked us through the olive oil making process and explained the different intensity and varieties of extra virgin olive oil.
Tasting Olive Oil
We were guided through the ‘how-to-taste-EVOO’ steps with our little tot of Olive Boutique Frantoio EVOO. This was an incredibly strange experience as I have never glugged down neat olive oil before, but I was delightfully surprised! Just like wine, a good quality olive oil is so complex and tasty with so many layers of notes and aromas.
The Magic of Food, Wine and Olive Oil
The 6-Plate Degustation Swartland Tasting Menu, with the expertise of Chef Rory Lambson, focused on the senses and high culinary art, showcasing the fusion of cuisine from the Swartland and West Coast. The plates were enhanced with award-winning South African Olive Oils and complemented by Swartland wines from Allesveloren by wine-maker Danie Malan.
The Entrees with EVOO
A delicate, medium and robust oil was offered to gauge our preferences of the fresh oils for each plate. The ‘raw’ use of the EVOO in the entrees shows how different oils interact with different foods and how certain flavours are enhanced in the various dishes. Being able to blatantly taste the fresh olive oil makes it that much more important in choosing the right style and flavour for your dish.
A bobbin of handmade pasta made with Swartland flour and free-range egg yolks served with Roman-style artichoke and Parmesan shavings was enhanced with the Olive Boutique Frantoio EVOO and paired with Allesverloren Chenin Blanc 2018. The Olive Boutique Frantoio EVOO won silver for a delicate style of extra virgin olive oil, which was the perfect choice for an all-round, light and delicately paired first course.
Homemade bocconcini, made with milk from Bordeaux Farm Malmesbury, with heirloom tomatoes grown at Tierfontein with Eriocephalus Africanus leaves with a balsamic vinegar foam was enhanced with SA Olive Gold winner for a medium style of extra virgin olive oil, Andate Intenso Nocellara EVOO and paired with Allesverloren Tinta Rosé 2019.
It’s difficult to put sensations into words, especially when it came to this pairing as a whole. But what I can say is the sweetness from the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, and the slight sweetness from the Rosé, was complemented and enhanced beautifully by the Andante EVOO! This was definitely my favourite pairing of the degustation.
Pickled local mushrooms with local Ricotta on wild garlic bruschetta made with Swartland stone-ground flour topped with thyme pearls and a lemon foam was enhanced with SA Olive Gold winner for an intense style of extra virgin olive oil, Olive Boutique Coratina EVOO and paired with Allesverloren Touriga Nacional 2016.
Once again, a great pairing, but the star of the course was definitely the wine. It’s a blend that I have never come across and quite literally like nothing I have ever tasted – truly divine!
The Mains with EVOO
Extra virgin olive oil has an unqualified body of research supporting its role as a protective, beneficial food in a healthy diet and in delivering exceptional flavour in almost all cooking applications. The Mains Plates showcased the use of cooking with the olive oils.
Grilled Mackerel cooked over vine coals, salt-roasted beetroot with horseradish cream and a seaweed crisp foraged from the West Coast was cooked with SA Olive Gold winner for a delicate style of extra virgin olive oil, Darling Mission EVOO and paired with Allesverloren Tinta Barocca 2017.
This plate was subtly salty but blatantly yum with great texture combinations.
West coast salt-cured beef served with pickled waterblommetjies with an “Udderly” Delicious cheese Mille-feuille was cooked with SA Olive Gold winner for an intense style of extra virgin olive oil, Olive Boutique Coratina EVOO and paired with Allesverloren Tres Vermelhos 2017 (Souzao, Tinta Barocca, Touriga Nacional).
Every element of this course was a 10. Although, as a pairing, I didn’t experience any ‘wow’ moments that I did with some of the previous courses – this could have been due to wineglass number 5. But in general, it was absolutely delicious.
“Guilt-free, healthy, EVOO” can be used as a dairy substitute for butter, or as a healthier option to other cooking oils. Like in savoury dishes, EVOO can enhance flavours and improve the overall texture of sweet dishes.
Baked Valrhona Caraïbe chocolate ganache served with mulberry compote and an olive oil biscuit crumb topped with African mint was substituted with Sa Olive Gold Winner for a medium style of extra virgin olive oil, Andante Intenso Nocellara EVOO and paired with Allesverloren Fine Old Vintage 2012 Port.
Decadent chocolate with a crumbed crunch, a bit of tartness from the berries, and sweetness from the port is a combination that can’t go wrong. YUM! The last plate of the degustation was the sweetest end to a bitter realisation that it was indeed the last plate.
The Olive Branch Project
The olive branch, a sign of peace. The Olive Branch Project is a community project that engages the residents of the Riebeek Valley in the arts. The intention of this project is to share individual stories and to create new ones through the collaboration of performing and visual arts projects. The initiative aims to find common grounds and heal the wounds of the community through art and by supporting creative entrepreneurship.
We were graced with a performance from the Olive Branch Project, in their outfits that were made themselves from recycled material. A bit of a sobering moment after our gourmet culinary adventure, but a raw and passionate performance with an important message.
The Olive Branch Project is an important initiative for the future of many young lives of South Africa. If you are wanting to make a donation or find out more information, contact them on 082 851 1262 or via email.
Local is Lekker
South Africa produces some of the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) in the world and everyone should know it.
Each artisanal Swartland olive oil transmits a story of the place where it’s from. Tasting the landscape, the culture, the history, and the flavours in the place where the olive oil is made, in a meal that highlights the oils, is a transformative, almost magical experience. Boutique regional olive oils need to be discovered, tasted and selected for their ability to complement your favourite cuisine, enhance your home-entertaining experience and lay the dietary foundation for a healthy lifestyle; not to mention support local rural communities with sustainable jobs.
As a newly joined ‘EVOO ambassador’, I implore you to be very selective about what you use in your homes to feed your family, especially when it comes to the oil you use. Top-quality, local EVOO is the tastiest and best option for your health, overall experience, and for the community. Local is flippen lekker – support it!
For facts & tips, experiences, olive oils from A-Z, annual awards & olives visit EVOOSA and join the conversation on the beautiful liquid gold!
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