Cape olive oil among world’s best

first_img22 November 2005Fine wines have been produced in South Africa’s Western Cape province for centuries, but few know that the region is slowly making inroads into the global market for another exclusive liquid – olive oil.The Cape winelands are home to a growing number of boutique oil-makers, who say their product can compare with the best oils that Spain, Italy and Greece can offer – and they have the awards to prove it.Morgenster olive oil, produced by Morgenster Estate in Somerset West, was named the Southern Hemisphere New Season Extra Virgin Olive Oil of 2004 in a competition between oils from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. It was also – some years back – the first South African olive oil to receive the prestigious Orciolo d’Oro award. Willow Creek in the Nuy Valley won a coveted Grand Mention Diploma at the Leone d’Oro dei Mastri Oleari olive oil awards in Perugia, Italy in 2005, putting the oil on a par with the best in the world.“South African producers are going really big – it’s going to be an exciting industry in a couple of years,” Paul Robinson, marketing and sales director for Willow Creek, told the Washington Post in an article published in July.The Willow Creek Estate is home to the Rabie family, who have been farming there since 1793. Traditionally a wine farm, the estate began producing olives in 1999.Willow Creek’s production is still small relative to European standards, according to the Washington Post. It exported about 4 000 litres last year, mainly to Britain, Finland and Germany.Local demandAccording to John Scrimgeour, chair of the SA Olive Industry Association, South Africa’s total olive oil production was 490 tons in 2004, compared with total world output of about three million tons.“But it’s a growing industry, make no mistake,” he told the Washington Post. “We’re exporting very little – we’re battling to meet local demand.”But he says consumers must be taught the difference between high quality and mediocre oils. Most of South Africa’s output is extra virgin oil, with less than 0.8% fatty acids.According to the International Olive Oil Council, extra virgin and virgin olive oil are completely natural and unrefined. All other oils can be assumed to be refined or to contain a proportion of refined olive oil. These are usually sold as pure olive oil, olive oil or light olive oil.“You won’t get any benefits from third-rate olives,” says Carlo Costa, whose grandfather established South Africa’s first commercial olive operation in the Paarl district.“There’s olive oil and there’s olive oil,” he told the Washington Post. “An olive mustn’t smell like dirty socks.”South African producers complain that olive farmers in Europe are heavily subsidised, so an imported Spanish or Italian oil can cost half as much as a South African oil in local supermarkets, according to the newspaper.But South African oil is worth the extra money because it is fresher than the imports.Jan Pretorius, oil maker at the Olive Shed near Stellenbosch, holds olive oil tastings in which he first passes around an imported oil for visitors to smell, then follows it with his own products pressed from three different cultivars – Frantoio, Leccino and Mission.“Europeans like the slightly sweeter taste of South African oil,” Pretorius told the Washington Post. The Olive Shed exports small quantities to Switzerland and Denmark, after tourists toured the mill and liked what they found.The southern advantageOne advantage South African producers have is latitude. They press their oils in the European off-season, when oil is scarce and northern demand for “fresh-from-the-mill flavour” is high.“We have competition from Chile and Australia, but that’s good,” Costa told the Washington Post. “Our oils do very well in international competition.”Kloovenburg Estate in Riebeek Kasteel won a prestigious mention in 2004 in the Italian world olive oil guide published by Cucina and Vini, which named it as one of the best 15 oils in the world.“We exported last year for the first time, to Europe and America,” says Annalene du Toit, the estate’s marketing director. “Not very much – about 1 500 litres – but there are lots of possibilities.”There’s also local demand for olive trees, especially because South Africa is prone to drought and the plants have modest water requirements. Willow Creek’s Robinson says people are ordering 10 000 or 20 000 trees at a time, and planting is increasing rapidly.“The key is marketing,” Robinson told the Washington Post. “There’s a little bit of surprise in Europe that South Africa produces olive oil. But people know South Africa makes good wines, so we have been able to ride on wine’s coat tails.”SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

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A taste of South Africa in NY

first_imgMadiba in Brooklyn set the pace for otherSouth African restaurants in NewYork to follow. A taste of home – pap, wors and chakalakaon the Madiba menu. Bunny Chow proprietor Paul Simeon.aimsto break New Yorkers out of the mindsetthat French and British cuisine is better. The front door of popular wine bar Xai Xai.(Images: Philippa Garson)MEDIA CONTACTS • Ruen EllisMadiba+1 718 855 9190• Paul SimeonBunny Chow+1 212 260 5317• Brett CurtinXai Xai+1 212  541 9241• Brett CurtinBraai+1 212 315 3315Philippa GarsonSouth African restaurants in New York are finding no shortage of patrons eager to taste the country’s vibrant cuisine.Several years ago Madiba in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, was the “go to” place for South African food, wine and ambience. Today there are other venues to choose from: Braai, an upmarket restaurant and its sister wine bar Xai-Xai, both in Hell’s Kitchen; and now Bunny Chow, a new Bohemian bar and restaurant in the East Village.All are surviving – some even thriving – in this recession-hit economy, where restaurants tend to flop like failed soufflés.Madiba’s owner Mark Hanegan is the veteran, having been in business for 11 years. He has seen perceptions of South Africa morph from pariah to darling of the world, thanks to former president Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid, to well and truly on the map, thanks to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.He chats to me in his trendy Afro-urban restaurant over scrumptious “pap and boerewors” and very tender oxtail. I’m tempted to order a glass of Nederburg but I settle for an Appletiser instead – more of a rarity than South African wine in these parts.I’m dying to try an impressive array of dishes – some of which have been created by South African chefs flown in by Hanegan and visiting or resident mamas who are experts in traditional African fare like amagwinaya (vetkoek with savoury mince and mango chutney), and umngqhushu stambu (a samp dish).Other items on an extensive menu include Durban samoosas, organic chicken wings and farm raised ostrich carpaccio.Hanegan and I share a safari platter with dried apricots, nuts, droëwors and biltong, followed by a delectable malva pudding.It’s a beautiful autumn day and with the sun streaming in through the bright orange umbrellas outside, and African jazz melodies in the background, I’m transported to Cape Town. The huge Madiba artworks, wire bicycles hanging from the high ceiling and a veritable spaza shop of South African foods lining the wall give the restaurant the feel of home.Over the years Hanegan has hosted hordes of curious locals, tourists and homesick South Africans, not the least of which is Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. He recalls how a cab driver from Durban, who caught sight of Madiba restaurant when he drove by one night, came in, fell on a bottle of Mainstay cane, and only left the following morning.But it’s taken years for outsiders to embrace the country whose cuisine and culture he showcases. “When I first came here there was no South African wine. If you just mentioned South Africa you were branded a racist.”Now Hanegan celebrates the fact that “while so many restaurants are struggling, you can’t get a table at Madiba on a Friday or Saturday night”.He also lauds the fact that the growing appetite for all things South African has inspired others to follow his path.Traditional feelWhen business partners Tanya Hira and Brett Curtin were holidaying in Mozambique four years ago, they met up with some South African winemakers and the idea of Xai Xai was born.“It was a huge gamble to start up a wine bar and sell only South African wines but from the moment we opened our doors we were busy. People just loved the wine,” says Hira, a US-born former fashion designer who once made a living designing frocks for priests.Curtin, a graphic designer who grew up in Somerset West in the Western Cape province, says he always had wine in his background.“We started to see the emergence of the New York wine bar scene. There was suddenly lots of appreciation for wine but very little for the new world wines. Wine has been made in South Africa for the past 400 years, so I thought, why not more focus?”Xai Xai, located in trendy Hell’s Kitchen close to the theatre district, was an instant success, and a year later, in 2008, the pair decided to open Braai a few doors down.Both Braai and Xai Xai have an upmarket but traditional feel: there’s lots of carved wood, beautiful metal work designed by Curtin, bamboo ceilings and low lighting.As Hira talks about the impact of the recession, I am somewhat distracted by the delicious koeksusters in front of me. Dressed up with sorbet, an orange yoghurt mousse and rooibos ginger honey sauce, the somewhat lowly koeksuster has been transformed by Braai into an elegant and flavourful dessert that delivers an even more intense sugar rush!On the menu are items like braai burgers, boerewors and Soweto sauce with pap and gravy, biltong quiche, the popular beef or chicken bobotie with rice, the equally popular ostrich fillet with curried coconut and venison (locally sourced bison or buffalo meat) with “apricots, peppers and onions in a rooibos syrup”.With such a delectable-sounding menu it seems hard to believe that food initially proved to be a harder sell than the wine. But Curtin says, “South African cuisine just doesn’t have the same kind of allure as the wine. Americans tend to be very conservative about food. They want to be presented with something familiar.”He adds: “Perhaps with the economy being what it is, people want to play it safe when they eat out. And this does affect our business to some extent. But we try to do a balancing act by bringing people food that’s not too far out there.”Complex smorgasbordMotivated to break out of the colonial mindset where “all things French or British are revered”, Paul Simeon opened Bunny Chow, the bohemian South African nightspot in the East Village.A French-trained chef who hails from St Lucia in the Caribbean, Chef Paul as he’s known, says he’s often asked why he opened a South African restaurant. “It’s funny because no-one ever asks me where I’m from when I cook French food. This just shows how colonialism has messed us up,” he says.Simeon describes Bunny Chow’s menu as refined peasant food. I taste a flavourful mini chow – an hors d’oeuvre version of the trademark bunny chow, a hollow bread loaf filled with lamb or beef curry.Simeon says he is still learning how to master the complex smorgasbord of South African food but says he’s happy to take instruction from South Africans who have shown him how to make the snoek fish-and-chips dish, vetkoek and chakalaka, now on his menu.“There are so many influences, so many different people who cook in many different ways. South Africa is a melting pot similar to New York,” he says.Bunny Chow is barely a year old and is still, in Simeon’s words, “a work in progress. I design as I go and people bring their music and ideas”. He also gets a lot of input from the four South Africans on his staff.It’s a relaxed, trendy venue, reminiscent of a typical Melville drinking hole – referring to the trendy Johannesburg suburb – though long and narrow with high ceilings in trademark Manhattan style. Although its thrown-together décor, sheets of corrugated iron and World Cup posters plastered on the walls lend a shebeen feel, it lacks the authentic South African vibe of Madiba or the more up-market, touristy experience of Braai and Xai Xai.Authentically South AfricanJust as challenging as creating an authentic South African atmosphere, is sourcing key South African ingredients. Exotic meats like venison and ostrich cannot be imported so Braai and Madiba get their game from local farms. Both source their biltong from a South African-run company in North Carolina called Biltong USA, whose products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.Madiba imports pap from South Africa, Braai and Xai Xai use corn polenta and Bunny Chow uses a white cornmeal from Mexico.All offer a range of South African wines, whose producers are courting them with growing enthusiasm. They also offer a platform for performing artists, musicians and filmmakers keen to showcase South African work.Business thrived for all the restaurants during the World Cup, a time when interest in the country hit a high point. Hopefully, the interest will continue to wax, not wane. But, as Curtin says, “New York is faddish. The attention span is short. People are always looking for something new, something hot.”Luckily with such a rich array of culture, cuisine and wine to draw on, these entrepreneurs are unlikely to disappoint.http://www.braainyc.com/last_img read more

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Heat clamp down on Giannis Antetokounmpo, top Bucks

first_imgBREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Milwaukee got within 82-81 on a 3-pointer by Tony Snell with 2:42 left. Richardson made a pair of free throws, Wade had Miami’s next four points on a pair of midrange jumpers, and the Heat finished on a 12-6 run with Richardson’s dunk the exclamation point“Play of the game,” Wade said.The Bucks missed 12 of their first 14 shots from the field and were 0 for 13 from 3-point range before finally getting one of those to fall.It tied a franchise-best for fewest points allowed in a first quarter by the Heat, and Antetokounmpo was held scoreless in an opening quarter for the second time in his last 129 games.The Bucks scored 30 points in the second quarter and took a 38-37 lead at the half, but Miami opened the third on a 14-2 run and kept the lead the rest of the way. Bledsoe said Wade’s two late jumpers were the difference.“D-Wade being D-Wade,” Bledsoe said.TIP-INSBucks: Even with the loss, the last time Milwaukee (22-10) got off to a better 32-game start to the season was 1990-91 (24-8). … It was a tough turnaround, schedule-wise, for Milwaukee. The Bucks played an 8 p.m. game in Boston on Friday, and their plane didn’t get to the gate in Miami until 3:34 a.m. Saturday. “I guess I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was one of the more unique (back-to-backs) I’ve seen in all my years,” Budenholzer said.Heat: Miami outrebounded Milwaukee 56-48. … The win was Miami’s 500th regular-season victory at AmericanAirlines Arena, their home since Jan. 2, 2000. They’re now 500-274.YEAR OF WAITING PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Embiid, Simmons lead 76ers over short-handed Raptors “They tried to hit us first, they were physical with us,” said Antetokounmpo, whose previous season-low was 12 points. “We came from a back-to-back, but that’s not an excuse for us. We didn’t make shots, we had a lot of open looks that didn’t go in, but just being able to stick around and be in the game and have a chance to win says a lot about this team.”Richardson scored 16 points and Wade had 13 for Miami. Hassan Whiteside had 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk and Johnson each scored 11 points for the Heat.Middleton scored 18 points and Eric Bledsoe added 17 for the Bucks, who shot 37 percent from the field — and 9 for 43 from 3-point range. It was the sixth-worst 3-point percentage in NBA history for a team taking at least 40 shots from beyond the arc.Miami shot only 38 percent and improved to 5-4 when shooting under 40 percent this season, by far the best in the league in that department. The rest of the NBA has won about 9 percent of the time when shooting that percentage or worse.“Just couldn’t make a couple plays down the stretch,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.ADVERTISEMENT It was that kind of night for the Heat. With balanced offense, airtight defense and by completely frustrating Giannis Antetokounmpo, Miami extended its season-best winning streak to four games with a 94-87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.“We have to be able to commit to this,” Spoelstra said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefAntetokounmpo was held to nine points on 3-for-12 shooting, the Bucks shot 37 percent and scored the 87 points — all season-lows. Milwaukee came in leading the NBA at nearly 118 points per game but scored only eight points in the first quarter, tying a franchise low for an opening period and setting a season-low for the entire NBA.Still, the Bucks clawed from 17 down to within one in the final minutes before Miami closed on a 12-6 run — fueled in part by a couple of big mid-range jumpers from Wade. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of Dion Waiters’ last appearance with the Heat. He hurt his left ankle in the first quarter of Miami’s win over Dallas on Dec. 22, 2017, had surgery a few weeks later and hasn’t played since.UP NEXTBucks: Visit New York on Christmas Day, Milwaukee’s first game on the holiday since 1977.Heat: Visit Orlando on Sunday, the 24th and likely final time Wade plays there.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening LATEST STORIES Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. (5) goes up to shoot over Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) and forward Thon Maker, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MIAMI — This is what Miami coach Erik Spoelstra means when he says he wants everyone involved.This was one play for the Heat in the final moments Saturday night: James Johnson blocked a 3-point try by Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, the ball ricocheting to Justise Winslow, who knocked it to Josh Richardson, who tipped it to Dwyane Wade, who then tapped it forward to Richardson for a dunk.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

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