South African olive oil is among the best in the world and is better than much of the stuff we import. I remember being transfixed by Marius Malan of Slaley Wines, which also produces olive oil, when he told of some of the practices that dupe us into thinking we are consuming olive oil that is Extra Virgin or, of greater concern, from the country of origin as stated on the bottle.
The great thing about visiting Darling Olives is you can see the trees from whence the olives come and, much as Marius explained, Marise who was conducting the tasting at Darling Olives concurred that our local products are far better than imported ones.
Feel like some olive choccies?
Doing an olive tasting is worthwhile as it helps hone the palate and helps to distinguish the things to look for when assessing a quality olive oil product. I especially liked their sun-dried olives and the various olive pastes (not tapenades which, Marise explains, have other ingredients like anchovies added to the olives. They even produce an olive chocolate.
Darling Olives is just outside the town towards Yzerfontein.
No visit to Darling is complete without visiting Evita Se Perron, home to our cultural icon Pieter Dirk-Uys and Evita Bezuidenhout.
Winnie, as you've never seen her before... or possibly wanted to.
So much has changed there since when I first visited that even if you're a regular, it is worth popping in to see what's new. A very amusing non-political send up is a gallery of paintings by local artist Nina van der Westhuizen which has Evita in the classics by Klimt, Tretichikoff, Kahlo and Warhol.
See Winnie ... in the bath
Something else worth seeing is the updated Boerassic Park. Inspired by the glass and cement sculptures of The Owl House, these are full of naughtiness and humour. There is one of Whinny in the bath complete with trademark sunglasses and a soccer-boot clad foot sticking up from under the water.
Get to Evita Se Perron with plenty of time to look around, eat a meal and watch a show.
Best is to visit when Pieter-Dirk Uys is in residence with his current affairs shows, Tannie Evita Praat Kaktus is a regular Sunday at 1400 session while An Audience with Pieter-Dirk Eish and Desperate First Ladies are on weekends in February. See www.evita.co.za for the updated programme.
Plan ahead to be in Darling during the first week of September for the Voorkamer Fest, an arts festival where shows are held throughout the town in people's homes.