Why you should be eating olives

You can’t go wrong by adding olive oil, table olives or tapenade to your daily dishes.

Imagine a food source that is not only delicious and versatile but can also help you fight stress, improve mood swings, decrease mental fatigue and help you manage your weight?

If you have not yet already been using olives and olive oil in your cooking, you should start doing so.

Although the immediate ancestry of the cultivated olive is unknown, evidence exists that the olive plant was first cultivated some 7 000 years ago in Mediterranean regions, based on written tablets, olive pits and wood fragments found in ancient tombs.

Olive oil. Picture: iStock

South Africans are fortunate in that we have areas where olives can be grown in abundance – and incorporating the massive health benefits of olive oil into our daily meals simply means popping down to our local grocer.

With such a wide variety of locally produced brands to choose from, where does one begin?

One that really stands out for me, and I’ve tried a few, is the Willow Creek Olive Estate brand. In addition to their great variety of plain extra virgin oils, they also offer great-tasting and aromatic infused or flavoured extra virgin oils, which can be drizzled over almost anything.

And who doesn’t love a brand that’s been around for as long as Willow Creek has? Situated in the picturesque Nuy Valley of the Western Cape region, the estate dates back to 1999 and comprises 160 000 olive trees on 200 hectares. It pressed its first award-winning oil in 2002.

Willow Creek olives. Picture: Supplied

With awards from Italy, Japan, Argentina, Israel and South Africa, it’s hard not to get hooked on the tasty goodness of the Willow Creek range of products, whether you’re sauteing, roasting, baking (yes, you can bake with their olive oil) or drizzling – or tucking into their table olives or tapenades.

Not yet convinced? Why not try your hand at an olive oil chocolate cake infused with naartjie and chilli recipe?

Whatever way you choose to use them, you can’t go wrong by adding olive oil, table olives or tapenade to your daily dishes.

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