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Community Post: Olive oil blending with Relax with Dax
V-duck

Olive oil is olive oil is olive oil, right? Wrong! Just like wine, the flavour and intensity of olive oil is influenced heavily by the type of olive, terroir and when it is harvested (how ripe it is). Some olive oils are bottled as single variety oils, but mostly, just as wines are blended, the different variety oils are blended in order to create an oil which is a balance of the various characteristics of the varieties used.

Image credit: Dax Villanueva
Image credit: Dax Villanueva

Wine blending is a part of the wine making process that most people know about and there are quite a few wine farms which offer opportunities for the public to try their hand at wine blending. But olive oil blending is not something that the public generally has much knowledge about. Consumers are generally familiar with wine varieties such as shiraz, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, etc, but olive varieties such as leccino, coratina, frantoio are unfamiliar to most who are not actually involved in the olive industry in some way.

Image credit: Dax Villanueva
Image credit: Dax Villanueva

There are several wine and olive producers that offer olive oil tastings and some even have single varieties and blends for comparison, but there is only one place that is offering a structured olive oil blending workshop. That place is the newly revamped wine estate, Vergenoegd.

The workshop is structured in the sense that participants follow a set process of blending, which familiarises them with the characteristics of the single variety oils before selecting their favourite and then combining that with set amounts of the other oils. Tasting the blended oils reveals the impact the blending has on the three taste elements which are fruitiness, bitterness and pepperiness.

It’s a common misconception that South African olive oils taste a certain way, leading some people to believe that they don’t like South African olive oils generally. But this is akin to saying one does not like South African wines generally, which is a ridiculous statement as South Africa produces such a diverse range of wines. We also produce a diverse range of olive oils made from many varieties and blended in many different combinations.

Image credit: Dax Villanueva
Image credit: Dax Villanueva

Participating in a blending exercise like the one at Vergenoegd is a fantastic way for consumers to understand what type of olive oil suits their taste and then to look out for that type of oil when making their purchase. Conveniently, workshop participants can order a bottle (or a few even) of the olive oil blend they most enjoyed. The super-efficient team at Vergenoegd will even print a customised label for the oil. These would make perfect gifts!

The olive oil blending experience at Vergenoedg is something different and perfect for those who might be avoiding wine for any reason. The workshop is most informative and should appeal to any foodies out there. As would the delicious picnic offering.

Image credit: Dax Villanueva
Image credit: Dax Villanueva

In addition to the olive oil blending workshop, Vergenoegd offers coffee blending, tea blending and wine blending workshops.  

*Dax Villanueva is a blogger. Read more on Relax with Dax.

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