In 2013 Absa and SA Olive partnered to introduce the Top 5 as an addition to the annual SA Olive Awards. In a show of confidence in the olive industry, Absa, which previously sponsored the Absa Top 5 Olive Oil Awards, has now indicated that it will extend this honour to 10 exceptional olive oils. The qualifiers for the Absa Top 10 are selected from the ranks of the highest-scoring SA Olive Awards medal winners by a team of revered tasters.

Sa olive oils vie for top 10 places

Olive oil is no longer a simple lubricant used for cooking. Its many and varied uses, the health benefits thereof, and differences in terms of flavour and intensity are increasingly known and enjoyed by foodies all over. In South Africa, the consumers are blessed with a choice of high quality locally produced olive oils.

In recent years the growing number of awards won at major international olive oil competitions – even when pitted against countries like Italy and Spain – attest to the fact that the quality of SA olive oils can hold their own with the best of the world. The sustainable health of the SA olive and olive oil industry stands at the heart of the activities of SA Olive, the association representing the common interests of growers, producers, processors and importers.

By means of the SA Olive Awards, annually held in August, SA Olive gives recognition to the country’s top extra virgin olive oils of the particular year’s harvest. Entries are blind-judged by a panel of qualified tasters; where after medals are awarded in the categories for Delicate, Medium and Intense olive oils.

Ten, not five, top olive oils lauded this year

In a show of confidence in the olive industry, Absa, which previously sponsored the Absa Top 5 Olive Oil Awards, has now indicated that it will extend this honour to ten exceptional olive oils. The very best gold award recipients of the SA Olive Awards will be chosen as finalists in the run for the Absa Top 10 to be announced on 27 September.

“Several encouraging factors influenced our decision to double the number of winners,” says Willie Zastron, Provincial Head Business Banking, Absa. ”The continued growth seen in the quality of locally produced olive oils, the rise in the number of SA Olive Award entries, as well as the consumer’s increased demand for quality olive oils and loyalty to local suppliers, have convinced us to expand the platform for recognition to the top 10 olive oils. In this way we are not only pledging our support to individual producers, we are simultaneously creating opportunities for increased commercialisation in a fast-growing industry, access to markets and sustained job creation in rural communities.”

According to SA Olive chairperson, Nick Wilkinson, the SA Olive Awards, as well as the Absa Top 10, serves as a two-pronged approach to give recognition to the industry. “In the first instance we laud producers for their dedication and hard work in creating a superb product,” he says, “and in the second place, we help guide the consumer in their exploration of the proudly South African offering.

Absa Awards News