Despite a record number of 671 olive oils from 25 countries competing in the 2015 New York International Olive Oil Competition, a local olive estate claimed gold, thereby becoming South Africa’s only producer to earn their inclusion in the list of ‘The World’s Best Olive Oils 2015’ (bestoliveoils.com).
This highly coveted distinction is bestowed on the various winners of the world’s largest and most publicized olive oil quality competition. Willow Creek Olive Estate’s 2014 Directors’ Reserve sufficiently wowed the acclaimed panel of 15 international judges during the stringent blind tastings for a gold medal in the category for robust extra virgin olive oils.
In addition, Willow Creek Olive Estate was awarded 94% in FlosOlei 2015, an Italian-based competition run byMarco Oreggia. During this competition expert and officially enrolled tasters representing the main olive growing regions in Italy, annually put hundreds of olive oils from around the world through their paces during rigid tastings to rate them according to quality.
“The panels of judges for these international heavyweight competitions include the best olive oil connoisseurs the world over,” says Andries Rabie, MD of Willow Creek, “and the fact that we compete with olive oils from the northern hemisphere – which enjoy a six month freshness margin on oils from the southern hemisphere – makes this achievement extra significant. South Africa does not stand back when it comes to delivering quality olive oils – not even when contending with such olive oil giants as Italy and Spain.”
The 2014 Directors’ Reserve, Willow Creek’s flagship product, is an ultra-premium robust olive oil. The dominant cultivars carefully fused to create this composition are Coratina and Frantoio resulting in complex aromas of tomato vines and artichokes, followed by nuances of rocket, salad herbs and a lingering nuttiness. Experts agree that the satisfying bitterness associated with a robust olive oil and the tingling pungency provide the prefect structure in balance with the distinct flavour.
These awards top a list of acknowledgements received locally and globally for several of the Willow Creek products.
The 2014 Directors’ Reserve already claimed a trio of important international prizes: Best in Class at the Sol D’Oro (Southern Hemisphere) hosted in Chile, Gran Prestige Gold at Terra Olivio (the Mediterranean international olive oil competition), as well as Gran Menzione at the L’OrcioloD’Oro held in Italy.
During the most recent SA Olive Awards the Estate Blend won gold and following on this success it continued the winning spree to secure a place on the ABSA Top 5 Extra Virgin Olive Oils list. Earlier in 2014 the Estate Blend was heralded as the Overall Winner in the Medium Intensity Category at the Italian L’Orciolod’Oro competition. It also earned the nod from the local Fairlady Consumer Awards when it trumped numerous other entries to be named as Best South African Olive Oil.
Their flavoured olive oils, including Blood Orange, Lemon, Coriander and Truffle, each claimed silver medals at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition.
For Willow Creek the 2014 season has been a good one indeed!
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