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)

Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro is quintessential tuscan peasant food that you can find on every table during the warm summer months.  It makes a for a perfect fresh and flavoursome starter.



As you move to the deep south of Italy, the food changes becoming distinctly mediterranean as it combines sweet, savoury and nutty flavours. READ MORE


Living in Tuscany, it’s always important to have a use for yesterday’s bread because it becomes like a bullet overnight due to its lack of salt. Tomatoes are great friends with bread and a host of other ingredients, particularly cucumber, red onion, olives, capers, basil, oregano, white cheeses…. and the list could go on. READ MORE

Crostoni for Lunch

3 Sourdough Crostoni

Summer Recipes
Living in Southern Tuscany one should not complain about the food – and we don’t – but we do miss good sourdough, like the one we used to get a Gail’s when we lived in London. So when we happen to be in Florence we always try to pop in to S.Forno in the Oltrarno to pick a couple of loaves – and spend the next few days binging on delicious (non Tuscan) bread!READ MORE

Chickpeas and Peach Salad Recipe

Ceci and White Peach Salad

Summer Recipes

When white peaches, especially the flat ones called Saturnine come in to season, our family goes crazy for them.  The season lasts no longer than 8 weeks so we try to use them as much as possible, also in salads.READ MORE