Countdown: Blog 145: Olive pips are not sugared almonds (and other olive tales) from Corrina

Many years ago I was working in cellar door for Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards ( ). This is a very busy cellar door, with lots of committed customers coming in every weekend.

We always had a bowl of local olives on the cellar door bench for customers to taste.

One fateful day, a group of middle-aged ladies came in. One lady was obviously the leader of the group, and she had organised a nice day out for her friends wine tasting. She was busy telling them about the Kay family, and how many times she has been to the cellar door and the fabulous wines. As she finished her speech, she reached over to the bowl of other peoples spat out olive pips, grabbed a handful- and before I could say anything, had popped the whole lot into her mouth!

I was mortified, and watched wide eyed as she started chewing away and the dreadful realisation dawned upon her: this is not a handful of sugared almonds (she told me later), this was a handful of spat out olive pips! She was so embarrassed, and I didn’t know what to say. I just held out a bowl for her to spit them out, and tried to continue on with the tasting as if nothing had happened.

How much did I laugh afterwards though! Just remembering the story always brings a giggle.

Olives are pretty much a way of life in McLaren Vale. We have Lloyd Brothers The Olive Groves just across the road from our vineyard ( very good Kalamata pesto that Miah has on her school sandwiches every day.

Coriole do some fabulous olives as well, I especially like their little Koroneiki olives ( And in the Main Street of McLaren Vale we have Brian’s Olives ( – so we are pretty much spoilt for choice.

At Oliver’s Taranga we have our 1841 Olive Oil which will soon be joined by a Red Wine Vinegar! The awesome guys at Diana Olive Oil in Willunga ( make our oil for us, and we are in love with its fresh, grassy character.

You can also visit some of our region’s olive oil making heritage when you head up to Samuels Gorge for a wine tasting ( The Samuels Gorge cellar door is set up in an old barn that was converted into an olive press house in the early 1900’s. The old original olive press is still standing in the middle of the tasting room.

My eight year old daughter Miah LOVES anything to do with olives. When she was only three years old, she embarrassed me greatly by announcing loudly that the Spaghetti Bolognese she was having at a friend’s dinner party was not good enough, because it was missing olives!