/ 9 October 2008

Piquancy wins SA olive oil an award

”A fresh but rich, rounded aroma, full of nuances of fresh salad leaves and nuts,” the judges said.

”The nuttiness is carried through to the palate with an appealingly rich mouthfeel … the gentle bitterness and piquancy linger on, leaving a very pleasant aftertaste.”

No, it’s not connoisseur-speak for wine — and the ”bitterness” should be a clue.

These were the qualities that won the laurels for the olive oil named as South Africa’s finest at the South African Olive Awards in Paarl on Wednesday night.

The extra virgin oil is produced by Burgundy Bourgogne farm, just outside Franschhoek, and is pressed mainly from frantoio olives with two other varieties added for taste.

The trophy for the best table olives of the competition went to black mission olives entered by Karoo Olives of the farm Renosterkop — one of the four first olive farms in South Africa — near Beaufort West.

A total of 32 oils were entered for the competition in the three categories — delicate, medium fruity and intensely fruity.

”Due to the unusual weather just before and during harvest, the 2008 olive oils displayed far softer characteristics, without the intense flavours that are dominant during the dryer seasons,” awards convener Linda Costa said in a statement on Thursday.

”The wet conditions, however, challenged the oil makers to ensure that their oils do not carry organoleptic traces of this excessive humidity.”

Organoleptic means ”having an effect on one of the organs of sense, such as taste or smell”. — Sapa