Extending an olive branch at Tokara

Olives have always been synonymous with Peace and the coming together of good friends and that is exactly what we did. Situated on top of the Helshoogte pass between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch overlooking the picturesque mountains you are transported to a world of fine wine, brandy and award winning olive oils at Tokara estate.

Tokara has always been a name associated with decadence and rich soils producing some of the best wines in the region. I couldn’t wait to join in and taste everything this gorgeous location has to offer.

The scenic drive up the pass and onto the estate had a particular old world exploration feeling as I had never explored this famous estate before. As soon as I parked we were off to see how the humble olive is pressed and made into the award winning oils under the prominent label.

Just 17 years old, the olive groves were planted in the year 2000 and today span across the slopes of the Tokara estate and produce thousands of litres of olive oil. Each cultivar is overlooked and pressed with great attention which adds up to their numerous accolades.

Tokara has a range of olive oils, which include Multi Varietal, Mission, Frantic and Leccino which are all Extra Virgin Olive Oils. They also have their Premium black bottle which showcases the decadence of all things Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The luminescent greenish yellow “pure” olive oil is bitter and you can see it flowing from the machines into what seems like a pot of gold to be processed further into the glass bottle you see on the shelves of most grocery stores.

After a wonder through the olive oil factory, the grassy smell in the air lingers a little while longer as we left the room to venture off to have an unfiltered, fresh off the press olive oil tasting.

With views spanning across the Simonsberg mountains, the Delicatessen was the ideal location to showcase the olive oil tasting while being emerged into your whereabouts and wide spanning olive groves. A menu was perfectly selected to compliment both the wine and olive oil and together made for an inspired  gastronomic experience.

Before we began the tasting, freshly baked breads were brought out along with shavings of parmesan. Having an olive oil tasting with complimentary flavours of saltiness and umami was an interesting take and definitely opened my eyes to olive oils being pure and unfiltered and the multiple flavour notes that could be picked up. The foodie palate of mine immediately thought of a few dishes to pair each of them with as I could taste natural spice, grassiness etc.

We were lead by the Olive grower himself into a detailed tasting where we got to see how an unfiltered olive oil compares with what our palates have been accustomed to from store bought Extra Virgin Olive oils. Hugely informative and passionate about his trade, it was eye opening to taste the hard work and love that goes into each bottle.

The blue glasses are used by the national Olive Oil tasting commission which disguises the colour of olive oils as it is a common misconception that the greener the oil the better it is for you, however this is definitely not the case. We were then taught to heat the oil in the palms of our hands by cupping both the top and bottom of the cups which releases flavour notes and brings the oil to an ideal temperature for tasting.

Begin by holding the bottom of the glass like this…

Then cup the top, you can swivel your hands slowly in opposite directions to heat up the cup slightly before bringing it to your nose and tasting the oil.

After feeling like an olive oil tasting master having tasted them on their own, with bread and exchanging our flavour notes of each with one another it was time to enjoy a deliciously prepared menu by well-known chef Richard Carstens and his team which was beautifully paired with their faultless range of fine wines.


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Roasted Beetroot and Gorgonzola salad with pear, orange, wintery greens, nuts and a thyme and orange vinaigrette paired with the Tokara Sauvignon Blanc


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Black pepper Chalmar Beef Sirloin with glazed onions and mushrooms with pommes puree and a rich jus paired with Tokara Granache


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Orange and Polenta cake with candied orange and olive oil ice cream

Feeling like an olive oil goddess and a very satisfied palate, I was highly impressed with the sense of exemplary service, food, wine and passion for everything that is Tokara. Each member of the Tokara family walks around with a sense of pride about the work they do and for good reason. I can’t wait to go back and enjoy the other parts that the estate has to offer. Stay tuned…

If you would like to book and enjoy a day at this incredible estate, you can do that by clicking on the following link: http://www.tokara.co.za/ and as always…


Megan Pedro
Megan Pedro

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