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)

Phantoms and fairies in Alto Lazio

As we celebrate everything ghoulish and otherworldly over Halloween and the days of Saints and Souls, we take you to two places in Northern Lazio that are full of mystery and magic: I Giardini di Bomarzo for all things wicked and scary, and Civita di Bagnoregio, a town straight out of a fairy tale.



Restaurants and Olive Oil

Both for business and for pleasure, we have travelled a good deal this year, frankly more than we should have. I am always curious to see how olive oil is represented in top restaurants outside of Italy because like all fine ingredients, it’s a critical choice for a chef.READ MORE


The Etruscans once ruled over a very large portion of Italy, south of Naples all the way up to Padova, but the area between modern day Northern Lazio and Southern Tuscany was their heartland, know today as Etruscan Maremma.  Today the area that surrounds Monte Amiata (Frantoi Franci lies on the western slopes of this former volcano) is dotted with Etruscan sites and tombs, natural beauty, hot springs and towns that feel as ancient as the old faces that inhabit this scarcely populated area.READ MORE


One of the greatest freedoms in life is to be able to cross borders, experience and live within different cultures and surround ourselves by a multitude of difference. It expands our senses, our sentiments and our capacity to appreciate diversity in an unbound manner.READ MORE

The big rebound

It all began one evening in May this year. Italy was still quite behind with the vaccination program, and still waiting to see if the new Prime Minister, the experienced, competent and extremely respected Mario Draghi, appointed only a couple of months before, would deliver on the promises of efficiency and competence for which he had been asked to serve in office.