A feast of concentrated flavours from the 2021 olive harvest has paid dividends for Tokara. The family-owned Stellenbosch wine and olive estate won two gold medals for their top tier Tokara Olive Oil blends. They also received recognition for their entire range at this year’s SA Olive Awards.
Tokara Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and their Estate Blend, available exclusively at Woolworths, both won gold medals. The rest of the range earned silver.
South Africa produces world-class olive oil. Every year the SA Olive Awards acknowledges excellence by rewarding the best of the vintage. A panel of international and local taste experts are the judges.
The spate of medals coincides with the spring release of Tokara’s new 2021 EVOOs. They were singled out for their intensely concentrated flavours from the smaller than usual olive crop. This is particularly evident in the EVOOs from Tokara’s Italian varieties, grown on the foothills of the Simonsberg.
Tokara Olive Oil Master
“By picking and pressing our olives at just the right time, we captured the true herbaceous and nutty flavours of these Italian varieties, especially our Coratina which is an integral component of our Tokara Premium Blend,” says Gert van Dyk, Tokara’s olive oil master and operations manager at the Olive Shed.
The dark green tomato vine aromas and intense artichoke flavours have elevated the taste profile of the Tokara Premium Blend this year.
“I can just imagine how this oil will enrich hearty minestrone, not to mention osso buco,” adds van Dyk. He still reminisces about his visit to Puglia in the heel of the boot of Italy, where Coratina has thrived for centuries.
Making fine olive oil is all about capturing the goodness of the fresh olive in the bottle. It is a task van Dyk pursues with vigour and passion. “A good oil is made on the tree, and here at Tokara I’m lucky enough to be hands-on from the olive groves right through to the final pressing stage.”
To safeguard their unique flavour profiles, they press the hand-picked olives within 24 hours after harvesting them.
The Tokara Olive Oil Range
Tokara EVOOs span the complete olive oil taste spectrum from mild to more robust. Their five cold-pressed EVOOs include:
- Two single variety oils: the delicately flavoured Mission and the full-flavoured and spicy Frantoio.
- Two more intense multi-varietal blends.
- And finally, an unfiltered blend.
Frantoio, the most important olive variety in Italy, is a key component of Tokara’s full-flavoured blended olive oils. It’s a medium to intense oil with green grassy tones. The palate is sublime and well balanced between green and bitter notes, with a nutty-almond aftertaste.
The Mission variety, which stems from America, is mild and gentle with a finely balanced grassy, herbaceous character. Its macadamia aftertaste makes it an all-around oil.
The Multi-Varietal, a medley of Frantoio, Mission and Leccino, has an olive leaf and herbaceous character with a nutty aftertaste. The Premium blend of Coratina and Frantoio, on the other hand, leans more towards a rocket, artichoke and walnut flavour profile. Careful blending brings together the best characteristics of the various olive varieties.
Tokara also has a refillable, unfiltered EVOO that redefines the meaning of untouched. Available on tap at the Deli, this unique artisanal multi-varietal blend is specially selected for its purity and unbridled flavours as the oil flows from the olive press.
Simply toss Tokara’s single variety or blended EVOOs through crisp salad leaves for a delicious meal. They can also transform any dish by intensifying the flavour and enhancing all the other ingredients.
More about Tokara EVOOs
Throughout the classical wine-producing regions of the world, there is a natural association between the olive grove and the vineyard. At Tokara, this celebrated relationship continues to thrive.
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.
What began with four hectares of olive trees on Tokara’s steep slopes has grown to over 22 hectares, planted predominantly with the classic varieties of Frantoio, Coratina, Leccino and Mission.
Depending on the season, the harvest usually begins in mid-March, and continues until late-June. The varieties usually ripen at different times starting with Leccino, followed by Frantoio, then Mission before ending with Coratina.
After harvesting the olives by hand the team takes them to the Tokara Olive Shed. They use a centrifuge in the state-of-the-art Pieralisi extraction plant to gently cold-press the olives to release the oil from the fruit.
After extraction, the oil settles in steel tanks for two months. Then they draw off the sediment for polishing. The delicate filtration removes any remaining sediment. Finally, they bottle the oil. No chemicals are added, nor is there additional processing to extract the maximum oil from every olive. Tokara’s practice of composting down and reusing the unused pips and olive flesh ensures zero wastage.
Learn more about the farm’s olive oil journey by participating in a structured, guided EVOO tasting in the Tokara Tasting Lounge. Bookings are advisable by emailing email@example.com or calling +27 (0) 21 808-5900.
And finally, for online purchases, visit www.tokara.com.