The Western Cape Feature

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From Soil to Oil

South Africans are beginning to produce extra-virgin olive oils that are as excellent as their wines. One place to learn about this fruit of the local fields is the historic estate Morgenster (Morning Star), which is part of Cape Governor Simon van der Stel's original 17th-century farm. In the mid-'90s the estate was restored to its original splendor, and olive trees were planted; it's now producing some of the best oils in the country. Five different olive cultivars—frantoio, leccino, favoloza, coratina, and peranzana—are pressed individually before they're blended. For R15 you can taste the olives, the oil, balsamic vinegar, and the delicious olive paste. Phone a day ahead if you're traveling in a group bigger than six. Vergelegen Ave., off Lourensford Rd., Somerset West, Somerset West, 7129. 021/852–1738. www.morgenster.co.za. Wine or olive tastings R15, R30 combined. Daily 10–4.

Kloovenburg Wine Estate. In addition to producing wine, this estate in the picturesque Riebeek Valley also makes olive oil and a delectable range of olive products that you can eat and rub on your body. Annalene du Toit, wife of the vineyard's owner, and one of her young sons took to the kitchen to come up with some of the olive concoctions, and they only sell what they like to eat. R46 just outside Riebeek Kasteel as you're coming down the pass into Riebeek Valley, Somerset West, 7307. 022/448–1635. www.kloovenburg.com. Tastings free. Reservations essential. Weekdays 9–4:30, Sat. 9–2.

Fairview. This vineyard in the Suid-Agter-Paarl area has a range of olive oils it's proud of. You can taste single-cultivar oils and take home a bottle of your own particular blend. Or you can just buy the farm's oil, along with its excellent wines and goat's-milk cheeses. WR3, off R101 (Suid-Agter-Paarl Rd.), Suider Paarl, 7646. 021/863–2450. www.fairview.co.za. Wine and olive-oil tasting R15. Weekdays 8:30–5, Sat. 8:30–4, Sun. 9:30–4.

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