Franschhoek is famous for its wine route, but many of the wine farms also produce olives and olive oil. When deciding which wine farms to visit, why not choose one of these and spoil yourself with an olive oil and/or olive tasting at the same time? It’s also a great opportunity to purchase some olives and olive oil to take home with you.
This is not an official Franschhoek olive route, merely a list of olive producers in Franschhoek that you can visit. For a broader food experience, look at the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route, which includes many of these producers.
This estate is famous for its enormous and amazing food garden which supplies the equally impressive restaurant called Babel. This estate is technically part of the Paarl region, but if you’re going to Franschhoek via the N1, you will probably drive past it so we’re including it in our Franschhoek Olive Route. You’d have to take a serious detour if you wanted to visit it en route to Paarl!
Babylonstoren is a newcomer to the olive oil scene, producing their first oil in 2014. But they are taking it seriously and apart from planting a lot of new olive orchards, they have invested in a shiny new oil pressing machine. They are offering single variety olive oil tastings as an option when doing a wine tasting. This is a very interesting thing to do and helps one understand the flavours of the different varieties of olives used in oils.
You need to book months in advance to get a table in the restaurant, but don’t forget they also have The Green House offering light meals for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. If you feel like spoiling yourself, you could use the spa or even book yourself one of the stunning rooms and stay over.
Moving on towards Franschhoek, Noble Hill is the next stop on our Franschhoek Olive Tour. This little family run estate is also technically part of the Paarl region. Noble Hill wines have been around for a long time and have a good reputation, but the estate has two secrets that most people don’t know.
One is that it has a fabulous little restaurant called Cosecha. Stretching from the patio, out onto the lawns, this contemporary styled Mexican themed restaurant is an ideal destination on a balmy summer day. They are famous for the Sunday breakfasts, but you will need to book in advance most days of the week whether you go for breakfast or lunch. It’s child friendly, but there is a small lake so you’ll need to keep an eye open if you aren’t sitting by the lake.
The second secret, is that they make wonderful olive oil. The quantities are very small so it’s really only available from the estate. The olive oil tastes great and their range of flavoured olive oils includes unusual ones like curry, dill & onion, garlic, etc. These bottles make perfect gifts as the label is printed on colourful elastics, making them very innovative and appealing.
A bit further along the R45 where it intersects with the Helshoogte Road coming from Stellenbosch via Pniel, you will find Allée Bleue. Our first estate within the Franschhoek region, this wine farm also has some secrets. While well known for its large selection of delicious wines, this farm’s primary business is growing fruit! They grow several kinds but persimmons are their speciality. Wine is not even their secondary business, that is actually herb growing. Make sure you pick up some fresh herbs from the shop while you are there.
Wine is their next focus and then olives and olive oil. This olive oil is perfect for those who prefer a softer taste without a lot of pepper. This also makes it excellent for cooking as the stronger flavoured oils can impact on the flavours of the food (read more about olive oil flavour classification). So it’s very convenient that apart from the smaller sized bottles, this oil is also available in 5 litre containers. The price is very reasonable too so a great chance to stock up!
Allée Bleue also has 2 restaurants, a casual bistro option at the entrance to the estate (this is where the shop is too), and a more sophisticated dining option where the tasting room is. So there is something for everybody.
A visit to Anthonij Rupert could take a whole day if you give it the attention it deserves. The estate incorporates L’Ormarins, which produces a very small quantity of superb olive oil from a little olive grove on the side of the mountain. A highlight of a visit to L’Ormarins is the Franschhoek Motor Museum which displays a rotating selection of 80 classics and super cars, taken from the over 300 vehicles in the collection. This is well worth a visit, even for those who are not particularly interested in cars.
There are two tasting rooms. The Anthonij Rupert tasting room is located in the refurbished manor house and the Terra Del Capo tasting room is near the entrance to the estate. It is at the latter that you will be able to taste the delicious L’Ormarins olive oil and perhaps enjoy one of the tasty snack platters. A fun way to travel between the different offerings on the estate is to use the estate tram.
Just on the left of the main road as you drive into Franschhoek, Goodings Grove is the only one in this list that doesn’t offer wine, it’s all about the olives. Having said that, they have a tiny number of trees and hand make some very interesting olive products in addition to their olive oil and table olives. Things such as olive jam, olive chutney and chocolate olive truffles might sound unusual, but don’t be put off, they are delicious!
Goodings Grove is a guesthouse which also offers self catering accommodation. If you plan to visit, you will need to phone ahead to make an appointment. If you’re feeling very brave, try a cup of tea made from dried olive leaves.
The last on our list, La Bourgogne is right at the other end of Franschhoek, but well worth the little extra drive. The tasting experience at La Bourgogne consists of a small selection of wines and their olive oil blend as well as a single variety (frantoio) oil which is their flagship. There are approximately 3000 olive trees on the farm, the oldest planted as recently as 2005. The olives are pressed on site and if you ask nicely they might show you their little olive press.
La Bourgogne also has some lovely self catering accommodation on offer. The tranquil setting would be very appealing to those looking for something away from the hustle and bustle in Franschhoek itself.