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Behind the Scenes – the Banhoek Secret

Behind the Scenes – the Banhoek Secret

A true romantic doesn’t kiss and tell, and a magician never reveals their secrets, but at Banhoek Chilli Oil,  we’re too proud of our top-quality sustainable ingredients and loving infusion processes to be quiet about it. Read on to find out how our passionate founders transform just two pure ingredients into an award-winning, internationally adored artisanal chilli oil.

The Heart of Banhoek Chilli Oil

We spent uncountable hours experimenting with our chilli oil recipe, until we were absolutely sure that the spicy, flavourful bird’s eye chilli was the perfect pepper for the task. Although originally introduced by Portuguese and Spanish colonialists, the affectionately nicknamed ‘African devil’ chillies are notoriously hot little peppers. Even so, their core essence remains fruity and earthy.

All our chillies are locally grown, harvested from farms nestled into the Stellenbosch landscape, amid the Cape’s leading vineyards and wild fynbos. Our flower-powered chillies receive all the fragrant goodness that the fynbos biome infuses into the soil, giving them a nuanced flavour unique to the region. 

Our hand-picked chillies are sun-dried to a gorgeous, rich scarlet and hand-crushed for perfect infusion.

Why Canola Oil?

There are a variety of oils that can be used to make infused oil products. We chose pure canola (rapeseed) oil because it has a high smoking point and because we’re able to heat our oil to an optimal temperature, we facilitate a richer, more robust infusion process with our fiery little flavourants, and ultimately provide a tastier, more deeply-infused chilli oil.

Our GMO-free canola oil is produced from golden fields that blanket the rock-and-rolling Overberg hills.

A secret infusion

Every batch of Banhoek Chill Oil is handcrafted, tenderly infused using induction technology to ensure an even extraction from a meticulous measurement of crushed, dried chillies. The freshly infused oil is drained and allowed to cool, before passing through sixteen stages of filtration. The result is a silky-smooth consistency that focuses on flavour.

A labour of love

Our commitment to quality raw ingredients, the simplest recipe imaginable, and impeccable precision is what produces the unwavering quality of chilli oil that our patrons come back for, time and again. But we’d venture to suggest that the love that goes into every bottle amplifies its goodness, as much as the passion and caring that goes into taking care of our people, our community and the earth.

  • Local economic empowerment sits at the heart of Banhoek Chilli Oil’s values. We invest in developing skills and forging new career pathways for individuals whose natural abilities might otherwise have remain undiscovered.
  • We look for every opportunity to uplift our lovely little valley by hiring locally and keeping our supply chain as close to home as possible. We’ve also been able to institute an innovative farmer’s programme, resulting in greater economic and employment prospects for our local community. 
  • Because we’re so grateful for what Mother Earth has gifted us, we craft Banhoek Chilli Oil with conscience. We minimise waste, use green energy and recycle on-site to reduce our environmental footprint.

From a crisp, ripe chilli waiting to be picked from the sunny Banhoek Valley, to the beautiful designer bottles that adorn our shelves, the Banhoek promise remains: a consistent chilli oil that will enhance the taste of any dish, with the perfect bite of flavour. 

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The secret garden: How fynbos infuses Banhoek Chilli Oil with South African heritage

At first glance fynbos is a low-lying, scrubland vegetation that carpets the landscape in olive green and grey tones. It’s easy to miss the beauty of fynbos and you must look closely to appreciate its amazing diversity and, especially in flowering season, its riot of colours.

Stretching from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape, this area of 90 000km2 is known as the Cape Floral Kingdom – the smallest of the six plant kingdoms but the most rare, diverse and dense. There are nearly 9 000 different plant species, with 69% endemic to the area, meaning you won’t find them anywhere else on the planet.

Despite its size, it’s home to 3% of the world’s plant species and an impressive 20% of the African continent’s, making the area more botanically diverse than the Amazon rainforest. It’s one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hot spots and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fynbos grows in impressive environments that are not particularly nourishing, from sandy soils to limestone cliffs and the slopes of rugged mountains. Apart from their ability to survive in these thin soils, fynbos is also dependent on periodic fire for regeneration.

As far as uses for fynbos, they’re as varied as the species. Medicine, cosmetics, food, wine and gin, these are just some ways the unique floral notes and taste flavours of fynbos are infused into products. But the most famous use is rooibos tea, loved and appreciated around the world.

The earthy fynbos influence is also felt in the Banhoek Valley, in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, where the chillies for Banhoek Chilli Oil are grown, and in the Overberg, home to golden canola fields and our canola (rapeseed) oil.

These unique-tasting ingredients pay homage to the country’s natural heritage and infuse Banhoek Chilli Oil with a depth of flavour that’s captures the spirit of South Africa and is unmatched in the world.