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)

Barley Risotto with Lemon, Spinach and Spicy Breadcrumbs

The risotto base for this dish is relatively simple but is brought to life by the nuttiness of the barley (orzo in Italian) combined with the spicy breadcrumbs. Served with a decisive monocultivar olive oil, it comes in to its own. We used Zefiro from Frantoio Fonte di Foiano. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS

3 ½ tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we used Zefiro from Frantoio Fonte di Foiano in Tuscany

30g Breadcrumbs, best if you make your own

2 Cloves of Garlic

1/3 tsp Pepperoncino flakes

1 ½ tbsp Flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

2 Lemons, zest and juice

1 lt Vegetable stock (made with carrot, celery, leek, fennel)

1 Small chopped onion

1 tbsp Thyme, roughly chopped

220g Pearl Barley

75ml Dry White Wine

200g Baby Spinach

50g Parmiggiano, grated

A few basil leaves to garnish, and seasoning of course.

METHOD

Using a deep saute pan, gently warm a tablespoon and a half of olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs, 1 clove of crushed garlic and stir for about 5 mins until they begin to colour. Add the chilli, parsley and lemon zest and cook for a further couple of minutes and then set aside on a plate to cool.

 

Make your vegetable stock.

 

Using 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, back in your large saute pan, gently cook the onion for about 5 mins until it becomes translucent.. Add the thyme and remaining garlic and stir through (just half a minute) and then stir in the barley with some salt and pepper. You just need a minute to get the grains hot, then add the wine, reduce for 30 seconds and then ladle in some stock. Turn the heat down to a simmer and allow the stock to absorb, stirring regularly. Then repeat, as with any risotto, adding more stock. You’re usually looking at about 40 mins for barley.

 

When almost done, add the spinach and allow it to just wilt. Then the parmiggiano and finally some lemon juice.

 

Serve the risotto in bowls and top with breadcrumbs, basil, some additional parmesan and a swirl of olive oil.