If there’s ever a time to visit the winelands in the Western Cape, now’s that time. Crisp wintery air and misty vineyards flanked by towering mountains, together with endless activities at reduced prices – is exactly why now is the time. You get to experience the best of the Cape, at an affordable rate. It is relatively quiet over this period so you can easily meander through the winelands without the chaos.
And we’ve stumbled across just the place to visit, Tokara Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. While they are well-known for their exquisite wines and delicious food, if you’re looking for an authentic experience, you should pop by for an olive oil tasting. Boom! There’s an entire other industry the Western Cape can lay claim to fame for, we also produce world-class olive oil.
Tokara’s Olive Oil maker, Gert van Dyk, says the idea of adding this to their mix of offerings is to give consumers a wider array of products to choose from and experiment with. There are four types of Olive Oil produced on the farm, each catering to your palate, some more subtle and others more deep in flavour. “It is something you don’t readily find elsewhere and something we pride ourselves on. It’s something different to what other places offer and we are fortunate to be able to showcase this to our visitors,” he says.
A walkthrough of the production area gives you an in depth understanding of how the olives are prepared, cold-pressed and bottled into liquid gold. It is fascinating to watch the olives turned into oil, and other products.
The olive oil project at Tokara started in 2000 with a four hectare olive grove, planted on the steepest slopes of the farm. A year on, the first harvest produced 500 bottles of extra virgin olive oil.
To ensure the best quality oils are extracted from the olives, they are cold pressed, with temperatures kept under 30°C within a day of being harvested.
“Extra virgin simply means the highest quality classification that we can give an olive oil. And you can only make extra virgin olive oil from superior olives,” says Gert.
The uses of Olive Oil are countless, it is a healthier option to regular oil and can be used within a dish, or drizzled on after.
Tokara hosts educational olive oil tastings alongside a wine tasting offering. And when the weather is good, a stroll along the olive orchards is a favorite among visitors. There are works of art tucked away in the gardens, expansive vineyards for your picture perfect photos while the mountains watch over you, as you sip on your glass of chardonnay and swipe your freshly baked bread through golden olive oil.
Exactly what you should be doing during a visit to Stellenbosch, what are you waiting for?
Contact: 021 808 5900
Address: Off R310 Helshoogte Road, Banhoek Valley, Stellenbosch
Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 21 years of journalism experience. Her motto - Travel. Eat. Repeat. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.