LOCATION AND CLIMATE

 

As you might expect, olives grown in cooler areas where there is more moisture (rainfall and dew) exhibit leaner, more restrained characteristics.  This doesn’t however mean that great oil can now be made in Iceland – you need a minimum amount of sunshine to make your Extra Virgin Olive Oil taste remarkable, similarly to tomatoes or stone fruit.

Olive trees are sensitive to winter freeze (the Casaliva cultivar is more resistant to cold, hence being grown in the Garda region).  It is also easier to farm organically where the climate is more stable and less chemical sprays are required to keep the trees healthy.

OLIVE MATURITY

 

Here’s the thing – all olives are green.  When they become fully mature, they turn black.
Olive maturity at the time of harvest is a major factor in flavour and quality: olives harvested earlier (green olives) feature more bitter, grassy characteristics, with lower yields and with the highest anti-oxidant content.  The oil is a much more intense green colour and has a longer shelf-life.  In terms of production, milling can take longer with green olives (a longer malaxation - the action of slowly churning milled olives to release droplets of oil - is needed and can be more complicated) but the results are far superior!  Don’t choose olive oil from over mature fruit: it lacks all the potential goodness and flavour.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN GROVE AND MILL

 

People who care passionately about what they make and follow it personally every day have the capacity to create products with far higher quality, with integrity, and that taste of where they come from.  They are also able to do this by caring for the environment they inhabit.

FRANTOIO DI RIVA BOX

This box contains 6 bottles of extra virgin olive oil made exclusively by Frantoio di Riva from groves on the banks of lake Garda.

Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO green label x 3 bottles (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO organic white label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO blue label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, ULIVA Garda Trentino DOP x 1 bottle (50cl)

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Asparagus

Fine weather in early spring tends to bring on the wild asparagus in Italy, one of the most refined shoots of the season. With it’s distinctive flavour, wild asparagus is rich in iron, phosphorus and vitamins A, E, C and B. Not to be recommended for those with any sort of kidney complaints (it has diuretic properties) but other than that extremely good for you. Interestingly, from a number of sources, I read that Asparagus is easier to digest if prepared with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

It is also a vegetable that needs very little preparation to bring out its best.
As a side dish either lightly boiled or roasted it works fabulously with chicken or fish. To roast, toss in a generous amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil either alone or with some cherry tomatoes and roast for around 15-20 mins on a medium high heat (170C).
We also love it in a vegetarian carbonara during the spring (just replace the pancetta with asparagus) or of course in risotto.

The Olive Oil we enjoy most frequently with asparagus is Paolo Cassini’s Extremum. Its precision and minerality seem to meet the attitude of asparagus perfectly.