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)

Chickpea Puree and Octopus

Chickpea Puree with Octopus

Spring Recipes

This is a delicious dish I had once at Drogeria Franci in Montalcino, in early spring, when you feel you should have freshness but still crave warmth. I used to be quite worried about cooking octopus – it was one of those creatures that looked complicated. But wanting to recreate this dish made me try it, and I was wrong: it’s very easy to cook. And very tasty.  And you can impress your guests with this delicious first course, without stressing too much. But do call it in the Italian way, Puree di Ceci con Polpo, it sounds much nicer!

With Octopus ask your fishmonger if it’s ready to cook, otherwise you should freeze it for 2 days to make it softer (or beat it and hang it if you are in Greece). I used tinned chickpeas, but you could get dried and soak overnight and cook them until soft and ready.

Ingredients

For 4 people:

½ Kg Octopus

1 small onion, quartered

1 stick of celery

1 carrot

400 Gr jarred or tinned chickpeas

1 clove of garlic

1 Tbs chopped parsley

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Which EVOO to use?

De Carlo, Tenuta Torre di Mossa DOP Bari – Bitonto for it’s structure and complex wild herb aromas (monocultivar Coratina) that bring the octopus in to its own as well as enhancing the ceci.

Or

Franci, Olivastra Seggianese coming from high altitude on the slopes of Mt. Amiata. Aromas of rose and cut grass with delicate spice really compliment the earthy characteristics of this dish.

Method

In a big pan cover the Octopus completely with water, and put the carrot, the celery and the onion in the water. Boil for 15 minutes, then take off the heat and wait until the water is cooled down (probably about 30 minutes).

In another pan pour a generous amount of olive oil, heat gently with the clove of garlic. When it’s changed colour, discard the garlic, and add the chickpeas to the pan. Once the chickpeas are cooked, take off the heat, and puree. Dilute with the water from the octopus, until you have creamy consistency.

Take the octopus out of it water, cut in 4 equal portions, making sure there is a big tentacle for all. Plate over the soup, add the parsley, salt pepper, and a sprinkle of olive oil and serve.

You can make the octopus in advance and warm it under a grill before serving.