A Selection of our Favourite Local Olive Oils 2020

Words: Crush

We’re exceptionally fortunate in South Africa to have so many dedicated and passionate producers of local olive oils. 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.

Local Olive Oils that we Love

Rio Largo Extra Virgin Olive Oil

RIO LARGO is an award-winning olive estate situated on the banks of the Breede River. Nick Wilkinson is the owner/producer at this private estate – a family-owned business with a legacy of creating one of the finest olive oils produced in South Africa, since 2010.

What’s inside the bottle? A family legacy of grit. Determination. Sunshine and dark rich soil. The rustling sound of olives being hand-picked from pale green trees. Distant hazy blue mountains bearing silent witness to heartfelt ups and downs. Resilience. A rallying spirit. And high-quality olive oil made with a give-back-more-than-you-take attitude.

You’ll taste all that in RIO LARGO’s olive oil. Artisanal. Proudly South African. Enjoyed in 9 countries. Award-winning olive oil produced for your kitchen since 2010.

Origin: Scherpenheuwel Valley, Worcester, Western Cape
Style: Medium
Tasting Notes: Clean, fresh aroma – fresh green vegetal notes – like fresh green beans, mixed salad leaves, to gather with a lovely nuttiness on the palate. Good mouthfeel, with very balanced polyphenols  – the pepper lingers enticingly!
Price: On application

Recipe Inspiration: Prepare this Lemon Labneh with Roasted Tomatoes and Pine Nuts dressed with RIO LARGO’S Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

riolargo.co.za | Facebook | Instagram

Babylonstoren Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Dating back to 1692, Babylonstoren is a historic Cape Dutch farm beloved and best known for its magnificent garden that is laid out over 3,5-hectares. Every aspect of Babylonstoren, including the contemporary Farm Hotel & Spa, the Farm Shop, restaurants, Scented Room and Bakery, are led by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden.

Babylonstoren remains a working farm with 93 hectares under vine and almost 9000 olive trees that produce the finest extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Klaas Stoffberg started producing EVOO at Babylonstoren in 2015. As a qualified winemaker, he especially focuses on taste and plays around with different factors to build complexity. The main focus is to produce the best oil with minimum intervention. 

This past season Babylonstoren delivered their biggest olive harvest to date producing 36 000 litres of oil. Their blend has just won Gold in the 2020 SA Olive Awards. Visitors can visit the state-of-the-art olive oil plant to immerse themselves in the world of liquid gold and discover the process from olive to oil.

The walking tour includes a delightful tasting session of Babylonstoren’s blend and single variety Frantoio oil as well as table olive varieties produced on the farm. You can buy their olive oil in their Farm Shop or from their online store.

Origin: On the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain between the areas of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl.
Style: Cold extracted, medium style from hand-harvested olives.
Cultivar: Frantoio
Tasting Notes: Dried herbs and nuts on the nose, with gentle bitter and peppery notes as the oil passes onto the back of the tongue and into the throat.
Price: R150 (500 ml)

Recipe Inspiration: Drizzle Babylonstoren Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil over this delicious Whipped Feta Dip with Green Olive Salsa Verde

babylonstoren.com | Facebook | Instagram

Greenleaf Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Greenleaf Olive Company was established in 2005 with a vision to produce top-quality South African Extra Virgin Olive Oil that can rival the world’s best. The 330-hectare family-owned-and-run olive estate on the banks of the Breede River near Malgas, Swellendam in the Western Cape is one of the largest olive groves in Southern Africa. The area is blessed with a Mediterranean climate and terroir that are ideal for cultivating olives. Our groves are home to 180 000 trees and nine different olive cultivars.

During harvest, olives are picked at optimum ripeness and the oils are cold-extracted within a few hours to maximize flavour and freshness. From tree to table, Greenleaf’s olives are carefully grown, nurtured and processed to bring you the best.

Origin: Malgas, Swellendam
Style: Medium
Tasting Notes:  Greenleaf Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a multi-varietal EVOO with aromas of green grass, ripe almond and floral tones. This multiple award-winner is well-balanced and versatile. Ideal for cooking, making sauces, dressings and marinades, or drizzling over your favourite dish. Best enjoyed within 18 months of harvest.
Price: R79 (500 ml)

Recipe Inspiration: Try out this delicious recipe for Chargrilled Potatoes with Horseradish, Herb and Caper Dressing.

greenleafoliveco.co.za | Facebook | Instagram

Willow Creek Estate Blend

Willow Creek Olive Estate is situated in the picturesque Nuy Valley in the Western Cape region of South Africa. The estate is blessed with terroir and climate perfectly suited for the cultivation of olives. Their groves, which comprise 160 000 olive trees on 200 hectares, were established in 1999 and the first award-winning oil was pressed in 2002. As purveyors of quality, the estate values the 14 international awards that it has taken home so far this year, proving that they are indeed national brand leaders in EVOO!

Their Estate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a blend of mainly Frantoio and Mission cultivars harvested at a half-ripe stage with a medium fruity character.

Origin: Nuy Valley, Worcester
Style: Medium
Cultivar Blend: Frantoio and Mission
Tasting Notes: The aroma of freshly cut green grass and a hint of apple follows through on the palate. The slight bitterness and gentle pepper are balanced and fades to leave a pleasant aftertaste.
Price: R90 (500 ml) | R160 (1L)

Recipe Inspiration: Drizzle Willow Creek Estate Blend over this fresh and light Marinated Zucchini Salad. Also, check out these recipes for delicious dinner party dishes, made with the Willow Creek range.

willowcreek.co.za | Facebook | Instagram

Baleia Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The finest South African wine and olive oil, grown and crafted on the Cape South Coast of South Africa. Baleia’s vineyards and olive groves are located on exclusive terroir a stone’s throw from St Sebastian Bay, known as the whale nursery of South Africa. Inspired by the Mediterranean climate and their love of food and superbly crafted wine, the Joubert family has been producing the Baleia range of premium wines and olive oils since 2009.

The first olive groves were planted in 2008 with the single-minded focus of creating an Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Oil – a fusion of Frantoio, Corintina, FS17, and Leccino.

Origin: Riversdale, Cape South Coast
Style: Intense
Cultivar Blend: Frantoio, Corintina, FS17, and Leccino
Tasting notes: Distinctive aromas of green tomatoes and artichokes with lemon freshness. A buttery and smooth ending with black pepper hints.
Price: R125 (375 ml)
Recipe Inspiration: Forgo the usual mayo-dressed potato salad and instead try this fresh South Western-style Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Olive Oil Dressing.

baleiawines.com | Facebook | Instagram

Adhara Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Quality over quantity is the motto. As an ethically minded small business, much passion goes into creating the most delicious EVOO. Venishree broke the glass ceiling for her artisanal brand as the first female producer/owner of colour. After receiving the Bronze medal in their first year, ADHARA EVOO earned a Gold medal and two Silver medals, as well as BEST DESIGN IN AFRICA award (Olio Nuovo Days) in 2020.

Regenerative farming is practised to bring back the biology into the soil – it is about harmony and balance, which is evidenced in its taste and quality. ADHARA EVOO is also available in  Europe.

Origin: Tulbagh
Style: Medium
Tasting Notes: Well-balanced grassy oil with green flavours reminiscent of fresh artichoke and a nutty taste, giving a great mouthfeel which adds lovely depth and flavour to enhance all dishes. Positive attributes: fruit of green and ripe olives, olive leaf, artichoke, walnut, tomato leaf, dry herbs, rocket
Price: On application

Recipe: We love this Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup drizzled with Adhara Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

fraaigelegenfarm.co.za | Facebook | Instagram

TOKARA Frantoio

TOKARA, the highly acclaimed, family-owned Stellenbosch wine and olive farm, scored a full house at the 2020 SA Olive Awards with recognition for all four of their Extra Virgin olive oils spearheaded by a Gold medal for the single varietal Frantoio.

This is the second gold medal for TOKARA Frantoio this year after scooping gold at the 2020 Aurora International Taste Challenge.

TOKARA Frantoio, the most important olive variety in Italy and the foundation of the farm’s prized blended olive oils, was lauded in the medium category for its medium to intense character with green grassy notes. The palate is sublimely balanced between green and bitter tones, with a nutty aftertaste. It melds beautifully with a Mediterranean leg of lamb, springbok carpaccio or fresh Spanish gazpacho. 

South Africa produces world-class olive oil and every year the SA Olive Awards acknowledges excellence by rewarding the best of the vintage as judged by a panel of international and local taste experts.

TOKARA’s olive oil journey began in 2000 when co-founder Anne-Marie Ferreira decided to produce single variety oils that would set them apart from the handful of South African olive oil producers at the time. TOKARA focuses primarily on Tuscan varieties, each selected for its distinctive character and flavour profile.

Origin: Stellenbosch
Style: Medium-instense
Cultivar: Frantoio
Tasting Notes:
Sublimely balanced between green and bitter tones, with a nutty aftertaste.
Price: R110
Recipe Inspiration: Tokara’s EVOO is the perfect style for this delicious Greek Roast Leg of Lamb.

tokara.com | Facebook | Instagram

Funky Ouma Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil

Olive oil is a beautiful, natural gift from God. Did you know that olive oil was popularly called “liquid gold” in the ancient world? This Olive oil originates from the Paardeberg (just outside Paarl) area, from a farm situated on the foot of Paardeberg mountain.

This olive oil is a blend of Frantoio, Leccino and Mission olives. You will experience fruity and spicy, bitter yet fresh elements when tasting this olive oil. This olive oil is an all-rounder, everyday olive oil.

Origin: Voor Paardeberg
Cultivar Blend: Frantoio, Leccino and Mission
Tasting Notes: Fruity and spicy, bitter yet with fresh elements.
Price: R129 (500 ml)
Recipe Inspiration: Try Funky Ouma EVOO with this delicious Smoked Paprika Spatchcock Chicken

funky-ouma.co.za | Facebook | Instagram

Kransfontein Coratina

The farm dates back to 1933. The Mediterranean climate and high concentrations of calcium carbonate in the soil make the Stilbaai eminently suitable for the production of high-quality olive oil and olive products. The integrity of the oils is Kransfontein’s foremost concern. By harvesting small volumes to be pressed at any one time and by maintaining strict cleaning protocols, the flavours of the individual cultivars are maintained. From the rich, peppery and intense flavour of the Coratina to the medium intensity of Frantoio oils to the lighter and more soothing Mission oils, Kransfontein caters for the full spectrum of tastes and preferences. Their Director’s Reserve is a blend of these three cultivars.

Over the past few years, the olive oils bottled and produced on the estate have received recognition at the very highest level, including the Top Five Award for an unprecedented 3 years in succession. 

Origin: Stilbaai
Cultivar: Coratina
Tasting Notes:
Price:  R 110 per 500ml

Recipe Inspiration: Use Kransfontein Corotina to make this divine meal of Harissa Marinated Lamb chops with Grilled Peach Salad.

evoosa.co.za | Facebook | Instagram

When buying local olive oils, 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 producers of these local olive oils commit 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 other olive oils.

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