There are around 800 different Olive Cultivars in Italy alone, many of which are used for Olive Oil. Similarly to grape varieties in wine, the Olive cultivar influences the flavour profile of your oil.  Different cultivars, depending on size of fruit, thickness of the skin, composition of the pulp can produce different yields, varying concentrations of anti-oxidants and overall different quality levels.



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.



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.



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.


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)

Full flavour Farro and Lentil Salad

During the winter months, you need a salad that gives a bit more. This is a great option for lunch, packed full of flavour and goodness and great with an ample serving of new season extra virgin olive oil.


200g uncooked farro

200g small brown lentils, we love Castelluccio lentils, if you can get them

1 zucchini or you can replace with cucumber, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

½ fennel bulb, diced

2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed

2 blood oranges peeled and diced

A handful of chopped coriander leaves

A handful of chopped flat leaf parsley



1 tsp grated lemon zest

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, we would always go for central Italy when it comes to a salad such as this – Il Sincero from Marco Viola in Umbria is a perfect choice

Flaked sea salt and ground black pepper to taste


What you’re looking to achieve with this salad is all of the pieces being roughly the same dimension, so you want to dice pretty small to arrive at the length of a grain of farro.

Both farro and lentils take around 20 minutes to cook in boiled, lightly salted water, drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.

Meanwhile, dice all of the vegetables and fruit. If you can’t find blood oranges, a good substitute would be pomegranate. Mix this in with the farro and lentils.

Combine the dressing components and stir through liberally.


Florence Fennel Pickle

There is something deeply satisfying about opening the cupboard in winter to find a jar of something delicious you preserved with care during the autumn.

Beetroot relish

Roasted Beetroot Relish

This relish preserves the earthiness of the root without swamping it in vinegar as can happen with beetroot. It is best made with young roots (found typically in the latter part of the summer) and makes a brilliant companion to mackerel. READ MORE

Castelluccio lentil and aubergine stew

This recipe is a twist on Ottolenghi’s creation combining the simple ingredients of aubergines and lentils in a unique way. It is perfect for enjoying those last aubergines of the season. READ MORE

The Olive Oil Carrot Cake with a slice taken out of it.

The Olive Oil Carrot Cake

This recipe was shared with me by a great friend (the best way to receive recipes!) just a few weeks ago and we’ve already made it twice!READ MORE