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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Beetroot three ways

Red, orange and yellow feature highly in our autumn vegetable basket, from pumpkin to pomegranate, we feel blessed to have these rich, earthy, autumnal flavours at our table. Beetroot holds a special place in our heart so we wanted to dedicate a few words to it.

Beetroot is more readily associated with Northern and Eastern European cuisines – think borsht (beetroot soup) or rodbetsallad (beetroot salad).  But this autumnal root vegetable is also widespread in Northern Italy, and as you would expect, there is also a local variety, la Tonda di Chioggia – Chioggia’s round, named after the charming town overlooking the Venice lagoon, which also names a very special type of radicchio.

The Italian name for beetroot is barbabietola, the chard’s beard. This is because it’s tradition in Italy to eat both the root and the leaves, for example by frying them both together in a pan, with olive oil, salt and herbs, to make a quick and tasty side (dice the beet, fry in oil for 5 minutes, then add the sliced leaves and herbs, until ready).

Here are 3 recipes to try with this vegetable which is also wonderfully good for you.

BEETROOT AND LENTIL TABBOULEH

 

Ingredients

  • A handful of flat leaf parsley
  • A handful of fresh mint
  • 200g radishes
  • 2 beetroot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 red apple, cored, quartered and sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 250g quinoa, cooked
  • 400g cooked green lentils
  • Juice of 1 lemon

 

Serves 4

 

This is an incredibly quick and easy recipe.  Chop the herbs, radishes and beetroot finely.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients and then season to taste.  Dress with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and lemon juice, lay on a large platter and serve.

We like this as a stand alone dish for lunch or alongside roasted lamb, mackerel or a selection of goats cheeses.

 

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BEETROOT SALAD WITH CARROT, ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO

 

We enjoyed this salad immensely at a dinner at the Fabbrica winery near to Pienza recently.  A truly beautiful spot nestled in the Val d’Orcia in Southern Tuscany and extremely worthy of a visit www.fabbricapienza.com

 

These ingredients are all readily available in early autumn in Tuscany, but few people put them together in this way in these parts.  To us, this exhibited acute awareness of flavour, texture and season  – something that Fabbrica Pienza exudes in their wines and olive oil as well.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 small beetroots, peeled and sliced in to fine discs
  • 2 pale green zucchini, sliced in to fine discs
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced in to fine discs
  • Flat leaf parsley
  • Shelled pistachio nuts
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of maple syrup

 

Serves 6 as a starter or side dish

 

Once all of the raw vegetables are finely sliced, dress them well in a bowl.  Then lay out flat on individual plates interweaving the red, orange and green discs.  Sprinkle the pistachio nuts and flat leaf parsley over the top and serve.

 

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PANSARIA ME SKORDALIA (beetroot and potato puree)

 

This dish is real comfort food for me, transporting me back to my days in Greece, but it also reminds me of the early days in London when we loved going to The Real Greek in Hoxton Square, wow, that was a long time ago J

Pansaria is the beetroot salad, you can serve this a number of ways, but I like to keep it pretty simple.  It goes alongside Skordalia, which is a rich potato and garlic puree.  These two work supremely well with white fish and/or flat bread.

 

Ingredients

2 large beetroots, boiled and peeled

The beetroot leaves, blanched

1tsp ground coriander

3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

 

5 medium potatoes boiled

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

half a cup of water

 

For the beetroot side dish, keep it simple to retain the wonderful natural flavour.  Having boiled the beetroot and leaves, season with Maldon salt, black petter, ground coriander and add a simple red wine vinegar/EVOO dressing.

 

For the Skordalia, wash, peel and boil the potatoes on a low heat for about 20 minutes until soft.

In a food processor put half a cup of boiling water (you can use the potato water if you like), plus the garlic, red wine vinegar and seasoning.  Roughly chop the potatoes and add in.  Pour in the EVOO gradually as you would for mayonnaise.  If you don’t like your skordalia too angry, add the garlic cloves to the boiling potatoes for the last 5 minutes and this will give a milder effect.

When making skordalia, the potatoes must be blended when hot – otherwise it becomes lumpy.