I have great respect for anyone that bottles their own olives! I tried it two years running using the fruit from my orchard but both times failed miserably to produce an edible product! Changing the brine twice a day for a month is not my idea of fun. So give me an Olive Festival where I can buy the ready bottled fruit and oil and I’m happy.
Olives and merry making
This weekend (7 & 8th May) sees the ever popular Riebeek Valley Olive Festival taking place. I was there at the start in 2001, when on a freezing, wet, first weekend in May a few hundred people came through to visit. Now it’s one of the success stories of Western Cape Festivals attracting around 20 000 visitors. It is sophisticated with marquees, markets and music – a great vibe and as long as you don’t mind the crowds well worth a visit.
Here, in Prince Albert, we celebrated our Olive and Food Festival this past weekend. It is held in the local show ground and is a much more home grown and less sophisticated affair than that of the Riebeek Valley.
The local group of young Rieldansers – the PA Vastrappers – put on a great performance alongside their heroes, Nuwe Graskoue Trappers from Wupperthal, who have won international prizes. It was a wonderful enthusiastic display and foot-stompingly good to watch. There was not a face without a smile when they finished!
Stalls, boerekos and local musicians offered up their delights and this year the programme included demonstrations on cooking, cheese making and art. There was tjembe drumming, rugby on the big screen, pony rides and dancing until late. It was local and it was lekker.
The mighty olive
Celebrating the olive is completely justifiable in my book. The olive tree has been around for thousands of years and is one of the so-called five holy fruits – pomegranate, fig, date palm and vine being the other four. The pleasure derived from the fruit of this tree (and it’s health giving properties) are certainly worth a toast.
So raise your glass with me in celebration of this wonderful fruit. Long live the olive!