Five superlative extra virgin olive oils were lauded as the cream of the 2016 harvest at the Absa Top 5 Olive Oil awards held at Tokara today (Tuesday, 27 September).
The coveted Absa Top 5 accolades were awarded to (in alphabetical order):
- Gabriëlskloof EVOO
- Greenleaf EVOO
- Kransfontein Coratina EVOO
- Marbrin Olive Growers Intense EVOO
- Willow Creek Directors’ Reserve EVOO
The runners-up are: Andante EVOO, Marbrin Olive Growers Directors Reserve EVOO, Marbrin Olive Growers Medium EVOO, River Press EVOO and Spar Authentic EVOO.
Absa and SA Olive instituted the Top 5 competition in 2013 as an extension to the annual SA Olive Awards. The top performers, selected from the ranks of the highest-scoring SA Olive Awards medal winners, are eligible to make the Top 5 cut. Ten finalists are selected from this pool by a team of revered tasters and narrowed down to the Top 5.
This year the esteemed judge’s panel comprised international olive oil maestro, Dr Antonio G Lauro and eight members of the SA Olive tasting panel: Leonard Arangies, Robert Claasens, Gerrie Duvenage, Reni Hildenbrand, Birgitta Hofmeyr, Benedetta Lami, Louise Rabie and Kelly White. Dr Lauro is an olive oil consultant, journalist and panel leader, an assessor of extra virgin olive oil quality since 1995 and a panel leader accredited by the International Olive Council (IOC).
Doug Walker, Absa Provincial Managing Executive, notes that: “It is a great honour for Absa to be part of these awards, which recognise top performing producers and aim to motivate them to strive for excellence. We, as a sponsor, support excellence as we believe that such support contributes to growth and prosperity in our province.”
Commenting on the contribution of the olive industry to the economy, Walker says: “The industry creates 12,000 jobs, supporting even many more livelihoods. The contribution the industry makes within the production environment is key to the promotion of a proudly South African product. You make a constructive contribution to the communities you operate in.”
He adds: “Supporting phenomenal initiatives such as these awards, therefore, enables us to fulfil our vision of Shared Growth, through which we aim to use our assets and resources to help grow and develop the societies where we operate while growing our business. We understand fully well that when the communities where we live and work thrive, we do too. And when society prospers, we all do.”
The competition provides a platform for the South African olive oil industry to showcase its very finest. South African oils are regularly recognised on a global stage for their quality and distinctiveness, and competitions like the Absa Top 5 play a crucial role in educating local consumers about the industry and its diverse spectrum of superior, world-class products.