A trio of golden olive oils your guests will thank you for.
When it comes to olive oils, cooking with anything but the best quality is not negotiable. Babylonstoren has channelled the Italian obsession with olive oil at their exquisite farm outside Franschhoek, where, above their famed organic vegetable and herb gardens, they’ve planted the slopes of the Simonsberg with 60 hectares (53 000 trees) of olive varieties. From these, they produce extra-virgin olive oils, table olives and pure soaps, right here on the farm.
Freshly harvested and cold-pressed, the taste of the Mediterranean emanates, redolent with sunshine slanting through silvery olive groves.
Hand-crafted by an olive sommelier
The names of the cultivars grown at Babylonstoren read like a tour of the Mediterranean: Frantoio, Leccino, Mission, Kalamata, Nocellara, FS-17, Coratina, Don Carlo, Manzanilla, Arbequina, Maurino, Picual and Koroneiki. This diversity means olive-harvesting season lasts from April to July, an intense few months when olive sommelier, Klaas Stoffberg, and his team work around the clock ensuring the olives are carefully pressed (by cold extraction) within an hour of being brought in from the orchards, to produce pure extra-virgin oils at their freshest and finest.
Why settle for just one?
Babylonstoren’s extra-virgin olive-oil blend is already a staple of many foodie kitchens. Here Klaas expertly blends five of the Italian olive cultivars to achieve a beautifully balanced and versatile oil – nutty and herby on the palate followed by just the right amount of bitter and pepper notes, it complements any dish, dressing or sauce.
But as any kitchen connoisseur will attest, there’s a case for having a selection of different olive oils in your pantry – why stick with just one when you can play with a whole range of different flavours? Which is where Babylonstoren’s superb single-variety oils come in.
The newest on their list is the Coratina, a cultivar renowned for having 300% more polyphenols than other oils (so even more health benefits) and a flavour that is fruity with a pronounced bitter undertone and tons of character. Think of it when you want an oil to star in the show – spaghetti aglio e olio, or anointing a fresh Caprese salad with tomato and buffalo mozzarella.
In the mood for a fresh, grassy olive oil that is piquant and robustly peppery? The Frantoio is a delight. Intensely green and fragrant, it’s a beautiful oil for winter salads, bruschetta, or simply dunking a chunk of fresh sourdough into and slurping up the liquid sunshine.
Taste the harvest
To get on first-name terms with Frantoio, Leccino, Coratina et al, a tour of Babylonstoren’s olive-oil plant is a revelation. You’ll witness the whole process, including the balsamic vinegar cellar, the table-olive production and the olive press. Just like wine tasting, an olive-oil tasting is a voyage of discovery for all the senses and each variety has its own character, which you discover for yourself, first tasting and then making your own blend to take home.
Contact 021 863 3852, enquiries@babylonstoren
Buy the 500ml tins (individually or as a trio) directly from the Babylonstoren online shop (free delivery countrywide) and explore the nuances of fine olive oil at home.
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