South African Snapshots: no 6

Olive Oil.
South Africa produces world-class olive oil. Every year, approximately 700,000 liters are produced and the majority is Extra Virgin. Look out for the label SA Olive, which indicates that an oil holds the high standard set by the South African Olive Industry Association.

SA Olive

Olive trees are not endemic to South Africa, apart from the Wild Olive but its fruits are not edible, but many imported varietals thrive in the Western Cape’s Mediterranean climate. Jan van Riebeek planted the first two olive trees here in 1661, but it was not until the late 1800’s that olive oil was produced on a larger scale. It started with a farm in Newlands, on which Portuguese immigrant Fernando Costa planted 10,000 olive trees.

Some olive oil producers offer tastings, and my favourite one is at Morgenster. This farm has also won some of the most prestigious awards available for their oil. As an example, Morgenster Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of only 11 oils internationally to have achieved the top score of 98%.

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