Our OLiV story

Roots in South Africa

As with most successful adventures, it all starts with an unexpected coincidence, a little luck, some planning and great chemistry. So it is with OLiV. The Founding partners of OLiV, Awie and Isabeau du Toit came across the concept of a retail shop dedicated to olive oil and balsamic vinegar while Isabeau was visiting New Mexico. Never would she have thought that chance encounter would lead to the OLiV Company of today. Having previously acquired property in a wine producing area in the Western Cape province of South Africa, she and Awie decided growing olives to produce oil filled with health benefits (Awie is a practicing radiologist) was a much better fit with his profession as a medical doctor than growing grapes to produce alcohol. This land acquisition combined with the bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar set in motion a chain of events that has resulted into a fully developed Olive farm in South Africa and, with the addition of two new partners, a rapidly expanding network of retail stores across Canada. With, this the concept of ‘Branch to Bottle” was born.

The Partner Group of OLiV now includes, the du Toit family, the Richard Jorgensen family, the Bryan Tranquille family and the Charmaine Franken family. These individuals have combined their talents, knowledge and skills to create a business model that has proven successful and has evolved into a business opportunity that is rapidly growing across Canada with expansion plans for the United States. The OLiV partners share a common vision and are driven by the passion to ensure premium quality of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), including the flavour infused EVOO that reaches OLiV’s end consumer without exception. As Awie states many times, “We want to ensure that only true extra virgin olive oils that are not chemically altered in any way are sold in our stores. As a medical practitioner this is extremely important to me as it will provide our customers with the very best health benefits that can be provided by the high content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and anti-oxidants that are contained in high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s our small way of helping improve the health of our many friends, family and customers that use our products.”

Similarly, OLiV deals only with true Balsamic Vinegar. This ensures the health benefits of this natural product are also evident and present in all of OLiV’s Balsamic Vinegar. And, since OLiV controls its product from start to finish through the flavouring process, it is one more assurance of high quality control. Indeed, Bernard du Toit, Awie and Isabeau’s son, has recently been qualified as an Associate Savantes (individuals who are trained to taste and distinguish the nuances of Extra Virgin Olive Oil). This brings a great deal of “hands on” in-house expertise to ensure the quality and flavour of OLiV’s entire product line. At the time of publishing, Bernard was part of a very elite group with only 7 such individuals recognized world-wide with this qualification.

We invite everyone to experience the OLiV way by using our quality products to create healthy eating and a healthier you! Drop by any one of our OLiV store Locations and experience the “WOW” of our “Branch to Bottle™” experience. For more inspiration visit our Recipe or Pairings page. Our story continues to grow every day. We truly look forward to sharing OLiV this with you!

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FAQ

 

 Where do the Olives come from?

Olives are a fruit, produced by the olive tree. The fruit picks up the nuances of what grows around the olive tree. Most varieties of olive trees are self-pollinating; cross-pollination is not necessary but if it occurs it will produce more desirable fruit. As a result there are different flavours based on differing cultivars and regions. There are probably over 1000 different olive flavours in the world. OLiV Tasting Room carries the most popular and pleasing cultivars to the pallet. Our oil comes primarily from South Africa, although each year we bring in a limited quantity of olive oil that has won gold metals at various olive oil competitions around the world.

 

What is grape must?  

Must is freshly pressed fruit juice (usually grape juice) that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit. A combination of grape must and wine vinegar is used in the process to make balsamic vinegar.

 

How do you know you’re buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

There are six categories of olive oil: virgin olive oil, olive oil, refined olive oil, olive-performance oil, crude olive-performance oil and refined olive-performance oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the product of the first pressing. The oil must also pass both an official chemical test in a laboratory and a sensory evaluation by a trained tasting panel recognized by the International Olive Council. Extra Virgin Olive Oil must be the pure oil from the first pressing with no additives or alterations such as heat and no defects in flavour or consistency.

 

What is “Branch to Bottle”?

Branch to Bottle is an OLiV Tasting Room trademark term that describes the fact that we have our own olive groves that we harvest, mill and bottle.

 

Are OLiV products vegan or gluten free?

Yes. All flavours of OLiV products are completely natural derivatives of essential oils.

 

 How long do the products last?

Our EVOO has a Best Before date of 2 years from bottling, and Balsamic Vinegars are Best Before 3 years from bottling. Best Before dates can be found on the back of our bottles.  


Can I (should I) put either olive oil or balsamic vinegar in the fridge? What is the best way to store it?

No, don’t put it in the fridge as it will denigrate the quality of the olive oil quicker and our balsamic is thick so that will make it hard to pour. Like wine, both olive oil and balsamic vinegar should be stored in a cool and dark place.

 

How many flavours of oil/balsamic do you have?

It is a continuously changing number as we add new and exciting flavours regularly. Currently we have 23 flavoured EVOOs, 8 Cultivar EVOOs, 37 flavoured Dark Balsamic Vinegars and 16 flavoured White Balsamic Vinegars. 

 

Can I order online, and can you ship worldwide?

You are able to order online. Visit the “Online Shop” tab on our website for a complete list of products. We can ship worldwide but the most economical options are within North America.

 

What are the health benefits?

See health benefits section of the website.

 

Can you cook with them/ what is the smoke point?

The smoke point is roughly between 365 and 405 degrees. We recommend staying between 350 and 375 when cooking with OLiV products.

 

How are they flavoured?

Using various proprietary formulas and combinations of natural essential oils we have been able to achieve the high quality of unique flavours offered at OLiV.

 

Why is the balsamic so thick?

The balsamic is thick because at OLiV we produce true Balsamic Vinegar, which through the creation process will thicken naturally.

 

What is the difference between your EVO and what I can buy in the store?

The EVOO offered at OLiV is sure to be 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil as we harvest mill and bottle our own products. Every cultivar is lab tested to ensure that it stays within the range of acidity that is acceptable for the oil to be labeled Extra Virgin. As a result we are able to guarantee the highest level of quality while meeting industry standards with everything we produce.

 

 

Ask Us

Feel free to ask us any questions about our products and services. We will be more than happy to help you.

 

 
 
 

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