Crush’s Best Local Olive Oils 2023

Words: Crush

From the lush valleys of Franschhoek to the arid areas of Renosterveld, South Africa’s terroir is a biodiversity trove, known for cultivating some of the best produce. Often associated with exceptional vineyards and wine, olive oil is fast becoming another famed South African export. We highlight some of the best local extra virgin olive oils that have not only impressed local palates but have also snagged international accolades.

Babylonstoren Extra Virgin Frantoio Olive Oil

Babylonstoren is one of the oldest working Cape Dutch farms in the Winelands. Their olive trees thrive in the sun and loamy soils on the Simonsberg Mountain slopes outside Franschhoek, where the olive oil is cold-pressed and tinned on the day of picking. From thirteen cultivars grown, they produce three magnificent extra virgin olive oils.

The single-variety Frantoio is a delicate oil with layers of creaminess and notes of green grass, almonds, wildflowers and green apple. It’s best savoured with fish, fresh fruit, or swirled into double cream yoghurt. The single-variety Coratina is renowned for its fruity, tangy taste and bitter undertone. The antioxidants in this robust oil are more intense; it stands up well to bold flavours. The blue-tinned blend of oils is great for everyday cooking. This well-balanced oil boasts aromas of mint, with a hint of honeysuckle. It has a medium intensity and good mouthfeel, followed by bitter and peppery notes.

Origin: Klapmuts, Cape Winelands
Styles: Delicate, Medium, Intense
Cultivar: Frantoio, Coratina, and multi-variety blended
Tasting Notes: almond notes, delicate pepper, green grass and apple (Frantoio) | dried herbs, green leafy vegetable aromas; fruity, tangy taste and bitter undertone (Coratina) | fresh herbs, nuts and fruity, peppery notes with subtle florals (Blended).
Price: R 435.00 (3 x 500 ml; Olive Oil Trio) | R 140.00 (500 ml; Blended) | R 155.00 (500 ml; Frantoio/Coratina) | SHOP HERE
Recipe Inspiration: The Frantoio pairs well with seasonal salads, or fresh bread like this Olive Oil & Herb Crusted Loaf with Chunky Olive & Feta Dip. | Facebook | Instagram

RIO LARGO Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Nestled in the picturesque Scherpenheuwel Valley near Worcester, lies RIO LARGO OLIVE ESTATE; a true testament to the quality of South African olive oil production. Owned by dynamic duo, Nick and Brenda Wilkinson, the estate has been crafting premium extra virgin olive oil since 2010 – the beautiful packaging is a reflection of the quality therein.

RIO LARGO’s commitment to quality has earned them international acclaim, with a collection of prestigious awards including the Olive Oil Japan 2023 Gold award, Aurora International Taste Challenge 2023 Gold, New York International Olive Oil Competition 2023 Gold, Amsterdam Competition 2023 Gold, and Best Medium Blend at the 2023 Flos Olei awards hosted in Italy, where they scored an impressive 98 out of 100 points.

Origin: Scherpenheuwel Valley, Western Cape
Style: Medium oil, ideal for general food use – meats, curries, soups, pastas and with fresh bread and salads; or drizzle over vanilla ice cream.
Cultivar: Blend of cultivars grown, handpicked and processed on the estate.
Tasting Notes: Notes of artichokes, green tomato, mixed herbs and snap peas with a lovely almond nuttiness on the palate. Good clean mouth feel with balanced polyphenols.
Price: retailer dependent | SHOP HERE
Recipe Inspiration: The fresh green vegetal notes and white pepper kick of this extra virgin olive oil works well in curries like this Pork Neck Vindaloo. | Facebook | Instagram

De Rustica – Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Estate Collection)

Situated near the lovely town of De Rust at the foot of the Swartberg mountains, De Rustica is one of the most beautiful olive farms in the Klein Karoo. The cold winters, pure mountain water, and Cape sunshine provide ideal growth conditions for their high-quality olive oil.

Part of the Estate Collection is their Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which was awarded ‘Absolute Best Olive Oil’ at the 2023 EVOOLEUM Awards. Their accolades are a testament to the ongoing commitment of their oil-making team. Coratina, the most valued cultivar that flourishes in the Klein Karoo, produces a well-balanced extra virgin olive oil with a pungent aftertaste. Notes of artichoke, olive leaf, green olive, tomato and apple permeate the palate – ideal for making flavourful salad dressings and more.

Origin: De Rust, Klein Karoo, Western Cape
Style: Intense
Cultivar: Coratina
Tasting Notes: artichoke, olive leaf, green olive, tomato and apple on the palate.
Price: R170.00 (500 ml) | SHOP HERE
Recipe Inspiration: De Rustica Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil is perfect for making these Braaied Lamb Ribs with Artichoke & Citrus Vinaigrette. | Facebook | Instagram

Kransfontein Extra Virgin Mission Olive Oil

Established in 1833, Kransfontein Estate comprises four farms – three of which were owned by author, Wilbur Smith, who wrote some of his first novels on the homestead. In 2000, adv. Altus Joubert SC bought the farms and planted 10 000 olive trees with the help of local landscape architecture, Prof. Ben Farrell. Today, the estate produces an award-winning and exceptional range of olive oils, produced from Coratina, Frantoio and Mission olives.

Great care is taken of the soil, trees, and fruit, which are handpicked at the perfect ripeness to ensure deliciousness. Kransfontein’s Frantoio Olive Oil is well-balanced and flavourful. Their Coratina olives produce an intense oil, featuring strong, peppery flavours. On the more delicate side is Kransfontein Mission Olive Oil, which has a soft, fruity flavour. It’s ideal drizzled over salads, or combined with balsamic vinegar and used as a bread dipper.

Origin: Stillbaai, Garden Route, Western Cape
Style: Delicate
Cultivar: Mission
Tasting Notes: soft, fruity flavours.
Price: R 55.00 (250 ml) | R 85.00 (500 ml) | SHOP HERE
Recipe Inspiration: The delicate, well-balanced flavours taste great incorporated into the citrus vinaigrette for this Bulgar Wheat & Halloumi Salad. | Facebook | Instagram

African Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Composed by nature and perfected by artisans, African Gold is a carefully selected blend of high-quality, locally produced extra virgin olive oil. Koroneiki, Nocellera, Frantoio, Coratina, Mission, Favalosa and Leccino olives are sourced from the finest olive farms in the Overberg, and then pressed in Swellendam to create a consistently delicious EVOO.

Curated by Southern Oil, this liquid masterpiece is a commitment to excellence that surpasses mere manufacturing; each bottle reflects the diversity of our land – a truly unique representation of the South African terroir. African Gold is the perfect balance of medium to intense extra virgin olive oil. Its fresh green aromatic fruitiness, distinct pepperiness and pleasantly bitter notes enhance the taste of complex flavours and fresh local produce.

Origin: Overberg, Western Cape
Style: Medium-intense
Cultivar: Blended (Koroneiki, Nocellera, Frantoio, Coratina, Mission, Favalosa and Leccino olives used)
Tasting Notes: fresh, green aromatic fruitiness; pepper and pleasantly bitter notes.
Price: ~R130.00 (500ml) | Available at leading retailers countrywide
Recipe Inspiration: Use African Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil to uplift the spices in this Curried Kingklip with Sorghum Salad – a dish brimming with local flavour. | Facebook | Instagram

Willow Creek – Estate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray

Originally used to grow wine grapes, wheat and vegetable crops, Willow Creek Olive Estate diversified its farming operations in 1997. After discovering that the lime-rich soil and Mediterranean climate of the Nuy Valley offered an ideal terroir for olive cultivation, the estate set its sights on olive farming. Today, the farm’s groves boast 155 000 olive trees, consisting of eight cultivars, that produce Willow Creek Olive Estate’s award-winning oils.

One of the latest additions to Willow Creek’s product range is the Estate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray. Flavourful and completely drip-free, this product is in a league of its own and popular among home cooks. Boasting a medium-fruity character with subtle aromas of freshly cut grass and hints of apple, this versatile extra virgin olive oil tastes great with most dishes; the balanced bitter and peppery notes pair well with salads, pastas and grilled meats. Foodies will love the convenient non-aerosol spray bottle. It doesn’t use chemical propellants and is refillable, which is great for the environment and ensures portion control.

Origin: Nuy Valley, Western Cape
Style: Medium
Cultivar: Multi-varietal blend
Tasting Notes: fruity notes with subtle aromas of freshly cut grass and hints of apple.
Price: R184.00 (300 ml) | SHOP HERE or from selected retailers
Recipe Inspiration: Ideal for finishing salads and veggie dishes. We also love using the spray application to keep roasts succulent like this Smoked Paprika Spatchcock Chicken. | Facebook | Instagram

Greenleaf Extra Virgin Olive Oil

It’s no small feat to gain recognition in an industry steeped in tradition and legacies. Yet, The Greenleaf Olive Company has not only managed to make its mark but has also won multiple accolades along the way. A shining testament to their commitment is their recent medal haul – gold at the New York International Olive Oil Competition, plus silver medals at the SA Olive Awards and Aurora International Taste Challenge – for Greenleaf EVOO.

This winning oil is a medium-style, multi-varietal oil with aromas of green grass, almonds and floral undertones. The olives are harvested at the perfect ripeness, then cold-pressed in the shortest possible time to extract an oil that’s nutritious and bursting with flavour. Loved for its versatility and distinct character, every bottle is a promise of quality, purity and taste.

Origin: Breede River, Western Cape
Style: Medium
Cultivar: Multi-varietal
Tasting Notes: aromas of green grass, ripe almonds and floral undertones.
Price: R 65.00 (250 ml) | R 95.00 (500 ml) | R 170.00 (1L) | SHOP HERE or at Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay and Spar stores nationwide.
Recipe Inspiration: This multi-varietal olive oil pairs well with the fresh green and zesty flavours of this Shaved Lemon Broccoli & Wild Rocket Salad with Jammy Eggs. | Instagram

Terre Paisible Aromatique Huile d’Olive

Terre Paisible is home to some of Franschhoek’s most loved Sauvignon Blanc wines and award-winning extra virgin olive oils. A product of time, passion and craftsmanship, each bottle is imbued with the spirit of its origin ­– Terre Paisible or the ‘peaceful land’.

Their masterful range includes a trio of extra virgin olive oils with varying intensities, drawn from five Italian olive varietals – Favolosa, Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina and Delicata. Both their Délicate Huile d’Olive and Modérée Huile d’Olive are delicious, but the third in the range is particularly exceptional. With a more prominent profile, the brand’s signature blend and Gold winner at the 2023 SA Olive Awards, Aromatique Huile d’Olive, is a full-bodied oil that will enhance any dish with its distinctive, layered taste.

Origin: Franschhoek Valley, Western Cape
Style: Intense
Cultivar: Multi-varietal blend (Favolosa, Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina and Delicata)
Tasting Notes: full-bodied with a distinct, layered taste.
Price: R 175.00 each (500 ml) | SHOP HERE
Recipe Inspiration: Aromatique Huile d’Olive is delicious as a stand-alone dip for warm, crusty bread, or drizzled over this bowl of Gnocchi in a Creamy Basil Pesto Sauce. | Facebook | Instagram

Darling Olives – Fynbossie Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Crafted by Darling Olives, Fynbossie is a true gem in the local olive oil scene. What started out as an experiment, using only 20 kilograms of olives, led to a truly unique and beloved product. The olives used to produce Fynbossie are grown beside the arid orchards, near the Renosterveld fynbos on the Alexanderfontein farm.

Its distinct flavour profile comes from the rich biodiversity of the region. Well-balanced with a lingering pungency, you’ll encounter aromas of fresh herbs, hints of almonds, green grass, green fruit, citrus and, naturally, fynbos. This limited edition is produced in small batches, making it a sought-after product for connoisseurs. The zesty and herbaceous aromas make it great for dressing salads, fresh fruit and plain yoghurt, or drizzling over ice cream.

Origin: Alexanderfontein Farm, Western Cape
Style: Medium-intense
Cultivar: olives grown close to Renosterveld Fynbos
Tasting Notes: hints of grapefruit, almonds, rosemary, thyme and fynbos.
Price: R 130.00 (260 ml) | SHOP HERE
Recipe Inspiration: For a truly unique taste experience, drizzle Fynbossie over this 4 Ingredient Avocado & Lime No Churn Ice Cream. | Facebook | Instagram

Riverbend Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Nestled at the base of the Rooiberg Mountain lies Riverbend, a boutique olive farm on the banks of the Breede River. Started by Trevor and Kathleen Brodrick in 2005, this second-generation, family-owned business produces top-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Mission, Frantoio and Manzanilla olives are lovingly grown and harvested on the farm. In addition to single-varietal olive oil, they make a blended olive oil. With fruity aromas and hints of almond, artichoke and fresh herbs, this well-balanced oil is versatile and ideal for everyday cooking and finishing your favourite dishes.

Origin: Breede River Valley, Western Cape
Style: Delicate-medium
Cultivar: Multi-varietal blend (Frantoio, Mission and Manzanilla)
Tasting Notes: fresh herbs, almonds and artichoke.
Price: R 62.00 (250 ml) | R 150.00 (700 ml) | R 209.00 (1L) | SHOP HERE
Recipe Inspiration: The nutty flavours of this olive oil taste great in this recipe for Confit Tomatoes with Whole Garlic & Thyme. | Facebook

Noble Hill Wine Estate – Virgin Territory (Estate Blend)

Noble Hill’s charming estate is home to 1200 olive trees, thriving alongside their vineyards. Frantoio, Kalamata, Manzanillo and Mission olives are carefully hand-picked and cold-pressed to produce their estate olive oil, Virgin Territory. The result is a beautifully blended oil with a distinctive, leafy essence. Renowned for its spiciness, this premium product is perfect for elevating most dishes, or simply savouring with freshly baked ciabatta.

As part of their ongoing commitment to eco-friendly farming practices, each bottle of Virgin Territory is made using sustainable packaging and features a reusable stopper. The olive oil is produced in small batches, making it a truly unique addition to the kitchen pantry.

Origin: Noble Hill, Paarl, Western Cape
Cultivar: Multi-varietal blend (Frantoio, Kalamata, Manzanillo and Mission)
Tasting Notes: leafy flavour with a distinct spiciness.
Price: R 159.00 (500 ml) | SHOP HERE
Recipe Inspiration: The pepperiness of this olive oil makes it ideal for dressing salads like this Mint, Lemon & Olive Oil Marinated Zucchini Salad. | Facebook | Instagram


Stand a chance to win SEVEN of our favourite local olive oils, and enter our Instagram giveaway HERE.

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