Willow Creek

What does Extra Virgin, Virgin etc mean?
'Extra Virgin' is top quality virgin oil as expressed by having a natural free acidity (expressed by oleic acid) of not more than 0.8%. Furthermore it has to be certified as 'Extra Virgin' by a panel that assesses the oil's organoleptic (taste and aroma) characteristics and verifies that it doesn’t contain any defects..

The term 'Virgin' applies to any olive oil that has been naturally extracted, without the use of chemicals. This oil is obtained only from the olive, the fruit of the olive tree, using solely mechanical or other physical means in conditions, particularly thermal conditions, which do not alter the oil in any way. It has not undergone any treatment other than washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtering. It excludes oils obtained by the use of solvents or re-esterification methods, and those mixed with oils from other sources.

Are imported olive oils better than South African olive oils?
Generally not – local is indeed lekker! South African oils are mostly of outstanding quality (as indicated by the amount of international awards won by our talented local producers). Unfortunately there is, as yet, no certification done on imported oils and so a significant amount of them are not, in fact, good quality and not 'Extra Virgin as the label implies.

What is the difference between olive oil and other vegetable oils?
Extra virgin olive oil has a healthier composition in terms of the fats that constitute it. It is higher in monounsaturated fats than most other vegetable oils.
The following chart provides a breakdown of fat type for common vegetable oils.

Type of Oil Monounsaturated Polyunsaturated Saturated
Olive Oil 77% 9% 14%
Canola Oil 62% 32% 6%
Peanut Oil 49% 33% 18%
Corn Oil 25% 62% 13%
Soybean Oil
24% 61% 15%
Sunflower Oil 20% 69% 11%


Is "light" Olive Oil low in calories?
No. All olive oil grades have approximately the same number of calories. Light or extra light olive oil has been refined to remove the defective flavours and colour characteristics and then has a small amount of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) added back to make it look and taste a little bit like olive oil. It does not mean light in calories or fat. It cannot be called Extra Virgin and quality wise it’s inferior to a Virgin Oil and usually flavourless.

What does "cold pressed" mean?
Cold pressed simply means that no significant heat was added during the pressing process. By radically increasing the temperature of the paste (over 30°C) the oil extraction yield can be increased. However heating the paste too much damages the oil and this technique is used where oil extraction is more important than quality. By definition all Extra Virgin olive oils must be cold pressed so this term is a bit redundant when it comes to product differentiation, but we keep it on our label to indicate that no heat was added during the process.

How long does Olive Oil keep?
Ultra premium EVOO can last for a few years because of its high antioxidant properties. However, unlike wine, most olive oils are best used in the year of harvest as taste and aromatic characteristics are likely to diminish after that. It will last longer if stored in a dark place away from excess heat. All good oils should clearly state a best before date, so ensure you check this before purchasing.

What determines whether an olive oil will be extra virgin?

An olive oil should be ‘extra virgin’ if it is pressed by a clean machine from healthy, undamaged, freshly picked olives.

Does olive oil contain cholesterol?
No, none at all! So go ahead, indulge…

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