Willow Creek Olive Oil Ranks in top 100 in World Rankings
Willow Creek Olive Oil is still the only South African brand on the list of global champions following the publishing of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil World Rankings (EVOOWR). An achievement the Nuy Valley olive oil producer has now repeated for the third consecutive year.
Willow Creek Estate is positioned 26th on the international list of Top 100 Societies or producers of extra virgin olive oil. Not one, but two of its products – the Directors’ Reserve as well as the Estate Blend – formed part of the 227 extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) that earned bragging rights to Olive Oil of the Year, with the Directors’ Reserve also included in the Top 100 EVOOs at 73rd place.
“This ranking is the recognised indicator of quality for olive oil producers over the globe,” says Willow Creek Estate brand manager Louise Rabie. “We are pleased with our significant rankings and the honour to claim representation for South Africa on the list.”
The importance of every international competition is determined according to the number of participating countries and the number of entries received. In order to be certified as Olive Oil of the Year, a particular extra virgin product must receive multiple awards in a variety of international competitions during a calendar year to score more than the required 160 points – the proof of its consistent excellence.
“It is very gratifying for us to see our olive oils receive the recognition that we believe they deserve,” says Louise. “The achievement at the EVOO World Ranking is a credit to every individual on the farm who made it possible.”
Willow Creek Estate lies in the Nuy Valley, near Worcester in the Western Cape. At the foot of the Rabie Mountain that is part of the Langeberg Mountain range. The farm has been in the Rabie family since the late 1700s. In 1999, descendant Andries Rabie planted the first olive trees and produced the virgin olive oil three years later.
Today, Willow Creek Estate comprises some 250ha of olives with a track record of awards and accolades, both local and international, that attests to the quality, consistency and appeal of its products.
In order to claim its position on the international ranking list, Willow Creek’s Directors’ Reserve earned Prestige Gold in both the Terra Olivo and Olivinus competitions, a Gold Medal at Domina IOOC, runner-up at L’Orciolo D’Oro, Special Mention at Sol D’Oro and a Silver Medal at the Los Angeles International Olive Oil competition.
The dominant cultivars in the blend are Coratina and Favolosa. On the nose, it delivers complex aromas of artichokes and tomato vines which follows through on the palate with nuances of rocket and salad herbs and finishes with a lingering nuttiness.
The oil, available in 250 ml and 500 ml, is ideal with red meat, hearty soups, pasta with porcini, carpaccio, or salads with rocket, parmesan and nuts.
The character of this and other oils on the farm are derived, as with top wine vineyards, from unique terroir. The Nuy Valley is perfectly suited to the cultivation of premium quality olives. The region’s lime-rich soils, availability of irrigation water and Mediterranean climate, with dry summers, cold winters and low average rainfall of 200mm per year, make it ideal for producing olives with a complex, appealing flavour profile.
Willow Creek Estate produces a variety of gourmet food ingredients, including vinegar, tapenades and pestos. In addition to the Director’s Reserve, Willow Creek produces the Estate Blend and Nuy Valley EVOOs as well as a range of flavoured olive oils including Lemon, Blood Orange, Jalapeño, Basil, Persian Lime and truffle flavour.
They are available at delis and retailers including Woolworths, Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay, Food Lover’s Market, Spar, Makro, Game and Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts. Willow Creek Estate also has a tasting room and shop on the estate that is open to the public, as well as a nursery that sells olive trees.
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