When Giulio Bertrand fell in love with Morgenster back in 1992, it was as a beautiful place to retire from a successful Italian textile business. Twenty-four years later, with retirement forgotten, he’s actively involved in every aspect of the thriving wine and olive farm that he has meticulously built up from scratch, importing olive stock from Italy and vines from France and Italy.
Prestigious olive oil
There are 14 different olive cultivars, several of which are never revealed, the secret ingredients of Morgenster’s
prize-winning extra virgin olive oil. It’s the only South African oil regularly at the top of the prestigious international Flos Olei list, one of the top 13 in the world in 2016.
Nico Loubser, production manager, explains that the final blend comes from exhaustive tasting and is different each year, as much art as science. “You play to find the right combination. At Morgenster we’re looking for the best balance, not the strongest or best-looking oil.” The extra virgin olive oil tasting is the perfect opportunity to experience this.
The Morgenster flagship oil and its two single varietal oils are set ready in the contemporary tasting room overlooking the dam (plus the truffle and lemon oils, balsamic vinegar and olive pastes), and we sip, swirl and allow the flavours to develop, the pepper hitting the back of the palate only after several seconds. The different layers of flavours unfold and we get a glimpse of the complexity behind the blending of a successful oil.
Giorgio Nava’s 95 at Morgenster
Though tempted by the Italian Collection wine and chocolate tasting, lunch awaits in Giorgio Nava’s 95 at Morgenster next door, also with tranquil views over the dam to the mountains. The menu offers the classic Italian dishes that Giorgio is known for at 95 Keerom, and head chef Jaryd Sparg adds his own subtle creative touch.
The La Tagliata al rosmarino is a generous plate of sliced beef fillet lightly smoked over olive wood from the farm and rubbed with rosemary and garlic, adding delicate layers of flavour. The pork belly melts in your mouth, with a crunchy crust and a salsa verde to balance out the richness. And for dessert, as well as a plate of light fruit sorbets, the chocolate fondant is a chocoholic’s heaven on a plate.
021 852 1738
95 at Morgenster
021 204 7048
Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Supplied