Following the announcement of the 2017 #SAOliveAwards & #AbsaTop10 Olive Oils Awards in South Africa, we are presenting a series of interviews with each Gold winning producer.
SA Olive Gold Winner: Tokara Mission Premium EVOO
Name: TOKARA Mission Premium Oil
Litres Produced: 5 000 litres
About Tokara Estate:
TOKARA estate atop the Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Long famous for producing award-winning wines, TOKARA is today garnering equal acclaim for its world-class olive oils. The first four hectares of olive trees were planted on TOKARA’s steep slopes in 2000, the bold vision of Anne-Marie Ferreira, co-owner and founding member of the TOKARA Olive Shed. Says Anne-Marie: “Our family is passionate about wine and food, and both elements play such a vital role in bringing family and friends together. It, therefore, made absolute sense for us to plant olives to produce quality extra virgin olive oil that would complement our quality wine range.” Since then the orchards have grown to cover 22 hectares, planted with the classic cultivars of Coratina, Leccino, Frantoio and Mission.
The Olive Shed project began in 2000 with the establishment of a 4 ha olive grove. In 2001, just 500 bottles were produced from purchased fruit and sold out within two weeks. In 2002, a more substantial 18 000 litres were produced, with 8000 litres being bottled under The Olive Shed label. Today, this figure is considerably higher and prospects are that it will continue to rise well into the future.
Oil Maker & 2017 Harvest:
“All of our olives are harvested by hand,” explains Gert van Dyk, who joined the estate in 2014, bringing with him two decades of experience in the olive industry. “Depending on the season, harvest usually begins in mid-March, and continues through until late-June. The cultivars ripen at different times, so harvest begins with Leccino, then Frantoio kicks in, then Mission, and we finish off with the Coratina.” The harvested olives are brought to TOKARA’s state-of-the-art Pieralisi extraction plant, where a centrifuge is used to release the oil from the fruit.
This cold-pressing technique, along with only using the first press of the olives, allows Van Dyk to obtain the exact chemical analysis – low levels of natural free acidity and peroxide levels – that is critical to obtain the sought-after classification as Extra Virgin Olive Oil. TOKARA goes on step further in a bid to reduce the estate’s carbon footprint and ensure zero wastage – unused pips and olive flesh are composted.
“What makes TOKARA so special is that we are a boutique producer, with a range of both blended oils and single cultivar oils,” explains van Dyk, who says the various olive cultivars have their own unique aromatic profile and flavour. In addition to the two popular blended oils, TOKARA offers single-cultivar Frantoio, Leccino and Mission olive oils.
Soft delicate Mild Olive Flavour. The Mission variety oil is mild and gentle with finely balanced fresh grass, Avo, butter lettuce and Granny Smith apple. Soft and delicate aromas and light condiment.
Steamed or broiled fish, mayonnaise, vegetables, salads and savoury tarts.
Where to Buy: TOKARA Deli, tasting room and Checkers