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)

Drappellone: the prized asset

People are often surprised when they find out that the only prize awarded in the Palio di Siena is the Drappellone – a vertical drape. Given the passion and intensity of this extraordinary horse race, one would expect hefty prize money after a race, but in Siena all you get is the Palio (the actual name of the drape).


Anne Hanely for Frantoi

Life, food and garden-making in Italy: Anne Hanley

Born in Australia, but raised in the UK, Anne Hanley has found home near Città della Pieve in Umbria where she runs a landscape gardening practice. A former journalist, she has lived in Italy since 1984 and has written  extensively about travels in the country, editing amongst other things the Time Out Guide to Venice.


What organic means in the Olive Grove: Ruggero Mazzilli

A number of different people have been consulted for this topic such is its complexity, ranging from olive growers to agronomists.  The main source of information however was from the highly respected organic viticultural consultant, Ruggero Mazzilli who has famously practiced his art since the 1980s. 


Raffaella Cova

Lunch with Raffaella Cova

Born in Como in northern Italy, Raffaella’s first career was in TV and film production in Milan before she moved to the Val d’Orcia in 2003. Sharing her Tuscan life with Montalcino architect Marco Pignattai and their two sons, she finally has the time to knead all the pasta, pizza and pastry dough she always wanted to.