If you enjoy good food then you are guaranteed to have Willow Creek Olive oil in your home. This household name has graced many supermarket shelves and is a top performer in the wold of the humble olive.
Situated around 2 hours outside of Cape Town in the Nuy Valley, outside the Worcester area this estate definitely is deceiving to the eye. Stretching aches across the valley, the rows of olive orchids and its various cultivars create a green carpet of perfectly manicured award winning trees.
“Since ancient times olives have been associated with prosperity and vitality, while the olive tree itself is a revered symbol in religion and many cultures. Providing shade, shelter, sustenance, serenity and beauty, these venerable trees offer a myriad of benefits. Join us as we explore the wonderful world of Willow Creek oils and olives.” – Willow Creek
Walking onto the estate, you are greeted by the old Tuscan style architecture and friendly faces of the Willow Creek family. I would strongly suggest you pay a visit into the shop before you venture into the restaurant to familiarise yourself with all that this incredible farm has to offer.
With the various flavoured olive oils, tapenades, kitchen equipment as well as hand creams and beauty products, it is definitely the best place to stock up before you depart.
We hopped onto the back of a tractor and through the olive orchids we went, until we reached the top of the world…or so it seemed…
On top of the world right?!
Louise explained a brief history of the estate and how it grew from the first olive tree to the hundreds of trees that now call Willow Creek home. Having achieved International award winning status, Willow Creek is at the forefront of Olive Oil and everything it should be with the additional of a few rules that were bent, adding flavours etc. You can see the list of awards by clicking the following link: http://www.willowcreek.co.za/awards
Getting lost in the labyrinth of olive trees, we soon jumped off the tractor and took a short walk to see the “man power” behind picking each and every olive. This machine was constructed to pull each of the olives off of the branches and sort through the leaves and twigs to ensure very little of the tree is taken down in the most time effective way.
However on a day like today with the machine standing in all its glory, it was unfortunately broken. The incredible staff at Willow Creek where out picking each and every olive off of the trees one by one. Singing while sorting through and picking olives transported me back to seeing the families in Italy picking in lines of family members as if it was a right to passage. We jumped onto the tractor and were transported to the home of the press..the factory.
It was as if I was Violet Beauregard driving up to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory…this is where it all happens.
The olives were being sorted, pressed and we got to see it all…
Having used Willow Creeks Extra Virgin Olive Oils for years, it was an auspicious occasion to be on this side of the bottle. We don’t often think about where the products we use comes from and often drizzle it heedlessly into a pan or over a salad and are completely unaware of the process that each of these olives have gone through.
Once each cultivar is sorted into crates they are off loaded at the factory to be pressed.
Once a varietal is selected for pressing it is emptied into the large crate and so the process begins…
After following the olive and tasting the luminescent green “raw olive juice” it was a humbling experience to see all the love that goes in to each and every label of the Willow Creek brand.
We made our way back to the restaurant and after feeling like an olive aficionado with a golden ticket I was excited to sit down and experience an olive oil tasting by the experts.
Beautifully laid out and ready for the taste tests, it was time to experience olive oil at the different stages.
Thank you Willow Creek for a fun day out on the tractor and #followingtheolive through the orchids to the bottle. If you want to experience this culinary journey then you can contact Willow Creek directly by visiting their website by clicking the link: http://www.willowcreek.co.za/ and be sure to have a bite as their food is farm style chic…delicious!