5 Fantastically Fragrant New Zealand Olive Oils

By Nikki Birrell
Allpress Olive Grove uses Frantoio, Verdale, Mission and Ascolano olives, all grown on Waiheke Island. Photo / @allpressolivegroves

European imports are in short supply and costs are increasing, but New Zealand-grown olive oils present a high-quality alternative.

Extra virgin olive oil fans have been faced with bare shelves and higher costs at many retailers around the country. Stocks from Europe have been plagued with shortages and delays, and global prices are skyrocketing. What’s the alternative? How do we possibly get by without the floral, grassy, peppery, bitter and buttery qualities of our favourite liquid gold? Thank goodness then for our own local growers, who are still producing high-calibre examples to rival, if not top, their international counterparts.

Olive Black Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml $35

Tasting notes: Green grass notes, pine, floral and some aniseed. Good bitterness and pungency. An excellent harmonious oil.

With its roots in the south of the Wairarapa, Olive Black carries The Olives New Zealand trademark, which guarantees 100 per cent New Zealand extra virgin olive oil. A winning combination of nutrient-rich soil and a warm coastal climate produces a jewel-like harvest creating a rich golden, extra virgin olive oil that is truly world-class — it won a gold medal at the prestigious New York International Olive Competition in 2021.

Available from Oliveblack.co.nz; Farro Fresh; Smith & Caughey; Fresh Choice, South Island; Arobake, Wellington; Orinco Design Store, Paraparaumu; Martinborough Wine Merchants, Martinborough; Catalina Bay Farmeres Market, Auckland.

Lot Eight Oil Makers Blend 750ml $48

Tasting notes: Exhibits a fine balance of fruitiness and herbaceousness. May be used as a dipping oil or as a finishing touch to a cold or a warm dish.

Lot Eight’s olive grove is based in Martinborough and is the brainchild of Nalini and Colin Barch. Their olive business has grown significantly from its humble beginnings in 1997 to now working with loyal contracted growers from the Wairarapa to be able to meet the demands for Lot Eight oils. The first release in 2002, Oil Makers Blend, remains their most sought-after extra virgin blend followed by their cold pressed Citrus and Yuzu olive oils. Nalini’s specialty is creating fragrant flavoured oils, often creating bespoke blends for Kiwi chefs.

Available from Lot8.co.nz; Moore Wilson’s, Ontrays, Gault’s Deli, Farro Foods, plus select specialty stores around New Zealand.

Allpress Olive Groves Waiheke Blend 500ml $59

Tasting notes: Creamy, nutty and spicy. The signature blend is beautifully balanced and refreshing – a pure expression of its Waiheke Island home. Crafted from hand-harvested Waiheke Island Frantoio, Verdale, Mission and Ascolano olives.

Few culinary ingredients rival the taste, versatility and nutritional benefits of Waiheke-grown and harvested extra virgin olive oil. The island offers near-perfect conditions for cultivating olives. Rich soil, island micro-climate and the salty sea breeze means the olives are grown without the need for chemical sprays — unique in New Zealand. Allpress oils are alive with plant-based nutrients and renowned for their distinct character; herbaceous, grassy and peppery. They’re also the only extra virgin olive oil grower in New Zealand or Australia to feature in the Flos Olei Awards (every year since 2010) — considered the most important publication in the extra virgin olive oil sector worldwide.

Available from Allpressolivegroves.co.nz, Farro, Moore Wilson, Sabato, Island Grocer Waiheke, Gulf Foods Waiheke, Raw on Waiheke.

Kāpiti Extra Virgin Olive Oil Leccino/Picual 500ml $28

Tasting notes: Leccino typically has an aroma of freshly cut grass, green fruits such as apple and artichokes and fresh herbs. This is nicely balanced with a warm peppery aftertaste. It is great on its own for dipping and drizzling on warm bread, perfect for drizzling on salads, pasta, pizza and fish or even drizzling over your favourite dessert.

The Kāpiti Coast grows very healthy trees and is similar to the Mediterranean climate. Kāpiti’s olive oil is extra virgin, cold pressed so it retains all the health properties and flavour that comes with fresh olive oil. Their catchphrase “taste the difference” is all about the freshness of their oil, grown in New Zealand, with its distinctive aroma and matching flavour.

All Kapiti’s oils can be used for drizzling through to cooking. Available from New World supermarkets, Moore Wilsons, The Greenery (Kāpiti), The Merchant of Taupo (Taupo), Bin Inn (Paraparaumu), Marbecks Cafe (Dunedin), Bennik’s Eggs (Levin), La Bella Italia (Petone), Ruth Pretty Shop (Te Horo), The Blackhood Bakes (Ōtaki) We Love Local and select delis.

Two Groves Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil 250ml $30

Tasting notes: A well-balanced blend of olives, this oil is full of flavour and aroma. The olives are handpicked by family and friends from two groves on the sunny slopes above Woodside Bay.

David and Tanya Todd of Heriot Grove and John and Angela Goodwin of Woodside Bay came together to share the fruit of their olive trees, all grown in the same wonderful Waiheke earth, to create Two Groves extra virgin olive oils. The olives are hand-picked from their 400 trees and the company produces a certified extra virgin oil blend as well as two separate varieties: Picual and Frantoio, all cold pressed to produce smooth and delicious oils, with each displaying a unique flavour. Available at Twogroves.co.nz, Island Grocer, Waiheke Wine Centre and RAW (all on Waiheke).

More food and drink

From must-visit wineries to brand-new bakeries.

Jesse Mulligan: How good is Sid Sahrawat’s newest restaurant Anise? At this pan-Asian newcomer, the restaurateur shows what his team can do.

A first look at Judith Tabron’s new restaurant. The hospitality icon is bringing glamour (and miniature martinis) to Westhaven Marina.

There’s never been a better time to visit Hawke’s Bay’s diverse wineries. They are bouncing back after a tough year, and very much open for business.

World Top 100 chef Vaughan Mabee on the year that made him laugh, cry and shave his head. The Queenstown-based chef continues to put New Zealand restaurants on the map.

Share this article: