CULTIVAR

 

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.

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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The Storyteller: Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Maine native food-writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins, is one of America’s foremost experts on extra virgin olive oil. She’s written many cookbooks on Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, born from her experiences living in Lebanon and Italy. READ MORE

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The Rockstar: Fil Bucchino

Fil Bucchino is a Florence born – Toronto bred punk musician turned olive oil taster, producer & ambassador.  His latest venture is a documentary, Obsessed with Olive Oil, which goes behind the scenes of the rebirth of quality olive oil production and the lengths Olive Oil professionals will go through to make that perfect product.  The film is currently doing the festival circuits around the world, so keep an eye out for it.

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The Forager: Caterina Cardia

Pienza native Caterina Cardia has foraged in the spectacular lands of the Val d’Orcia ever since she was a young girl.  Today she supplies some of the best restaurants in Italy with native wild plants, which she has helped recuperate and propagate. She helps run her partner’s lovely restaurant La Buca Vecchia  and supplies wild herbs, salads, greens and flowers to the kitchen. She also runs courses and tastings for anyone who wants to learn more about wild foraging in the Val D’Orcia.

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The Landkeeper: Luca Gregori

Brothers Stefano and Luca Gregori share the joy of running Frantoio Gregori with the support and guidance of their wider family, following in the footsteps of their father and his father before him.  We were invited to their annual summer family and friends gathering, where we sampled their mother’s utterly delicious Olive Ascolane – a local traditional delicacy, made with their own Ascolane Tenera olives – honestly this celebration was beyond a feast, so many incredible flavours each speaking of their territory.

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