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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Caponata

As you move to the deep south of Italy, the food changes becoming distinctly mediterranean as it combines sweet, savoury and nutty flavours. There is a natural contrast between the recipes traditionally coming from the wealthy palazzi and that for people living in the countryside and the along the coasts. And as often is the case the poor paisan food found ways to mimic the food of the nobility. Caponata, one of the quintessential contorni you can find in Sicily, was inspired by a fish dish cooked with a bitter sweet sauce, by replacing the expensive dolphinfish (not a dolphin!) with the readily available aubergine. The ancient name of dolphinfish was capone, hence the name of the dish. Traditionally it would be eaten as a main, with bread; but now it’s found in many different local variations across Sicily, as a side dish. Caponata is very flexible in terms of the flavours you can highlight along side its bitter-sweet taste, and some replace aubergine with artichokes, for example. We like the flavour and crunch from the celery (so we major on this), whist often it tends to be more hidden. As a dish it should be eaten warm.

Ingredients

800 gr Aubergine

1 Celery stick (or more if you like)

1 red onion

300g Tomatoes

50g Capers (the salted ones)

25g Pine nuts

100g Pitted Olives (green or black as you prefer)

1.5 teaspoons of sugar

75ml White wine vinegar

50g Raisins

A few basil leaves

Which EVOO to use?

We are in Sicily, so naturally we use  on of the oils from Frantoi Cutrera. In particular we like Gran Cru Nocellara Etnea for this dish, with its herbaceous and bitter undertones, that combine well with sweet and savoury flavours of Caponata.

Method

Cut the aubergine in small cubes, place in a colander, sprinkle with fine salt and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Rinse, dry and fry in abundant olive oil, on a low heat, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes. Make sure you don’t burn the aubergine and once they are ready transfer on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.

Thinly chop the celery and onions and cook in olive oil together with the tomatoes for about 15 minutes, making a pulpy stew. Make sure it doesn’t dry too much. Rinse the capers in fresh water and add together with the aubergines, sugar, vinegar, olives (whole or chopped), pine nuts and raisins, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the fresh basil at the point of serving.