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)

Chickpeas Thoughts and Recipes

Rather like other members of the legume family, chickpeas are rich in protein and fibre.  The protein aspect is good for bone, muscle and skin health and the fibre, as we are all understanding now in this moment of heightened health awareness, is good for amongst other things, your immunity.  Add to this potassium, vitamin B, iron, magnesium and selenium (antioxidant) and you get the picture that this is a supremely superior food to be eating right now.
High in energy but low in fat, chickpeas are a great lunchtime option to sustain you through to dinner.
No doubt, with the impressive increase in home time and therefore home cooking, we are all seeking inspiration for how to enjoy larder staples such as chickpeas so here are a few of our favourites.
We used to live on Exmouth Market in London, so Morito was an important part of our lives.  We love their recipe for fried chickpeas and chopped salad and we use many variations in the salad part.
Zaitoun (by Yasmin Khan) only joined our cookbook library last year, but we love these Palestinian recipes and use it often.  You barely need a recipe for this dish, the ingredients are all just made to sit together.
And last but by no means least is a family favourite from the sensational Diana Henry, who has literally saved us at least a thousand times during lockdown when we’ve been totally at the end of all cooking inspiration.  Diana, you have no idea how much your amazing recipes mean to us.  Thank you.
MORITO FRIED CHICKPEAS AND CHOPPED SALAD
Serves 4
For the Chickpeas
300ml of Olive Oil
500g jarred chickpeas, drained and rinsed
A generous pinch of ground cinnamon, ground coriander seeds and ground cumin seeds
For the Salad
1/2 cucumber
1/2 red onion
2 tomatoes
half a bunch of coriander
2 green chillies
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice and zest
Cook the chickpeas in the oil when it is hot and fry until they are crisp and golden.  Remove and dry on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with the spices as well as some sea salt.  Keep warm.
Finely chop the salad, and here it really doesn’t matter what you put in, you could include celery, fennel, peppers if you have them for example.  Add the coriander and chillies, olive oil and lemon and mix well.
Plate up the salad and add the warm chickpeas over the top.  Serve immediately
We typically use De Carlo Classico for the cooking part and then Primo from the Cutrera family in Sicily for the dressing, which is wonderfully aromatic and brings all of these brilliant flavours together.
ZAITOUN CHICKPEA AND BULGUR SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE
Serves 4
175g bulgur wheat
400g jarred chickpeas, drained and rinsed
a large handful of chopped parsley, mint, chives
1 garlic clove
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
60g pomegranate seeds
Cook the bulgur wheat in lightly salted water for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water then place in a serving bowl.  Add the chickpeas, chopped herbs and garlic.  Dress with EVOO and lemon juice and season to taste.  Just before serving, add the pomegranate seeds.
We like to use Rosciola from the Gregori family in Le Marche for this dish – Rosciola seems to be absolutely made for chickpeas, it has the perfect aromatic balance and a hint of tropical fruits that lift the flavours to a new level.
DIANA HENRY’S CUMIN-ROAST AUBERGINES, CHICKPEAS, WALNUTS AND DATES
As Diana says, this is an easy recipe: roast the veg, make the dressing and heat the chickpeas.
It is a huge win alongside grilled mackerel.
Serves 4
2 large aubergines,
3 small onions
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp Aleppo pepper
400g jarred chickpeas, drained and rinsed
lemon juice
a bunch of coriander leaves
1 & 1/2 tbsp date syrup
5 medjool dates, pitted and chopped (we sometimes replace with dried fig if we can’t find dates)
15 g walnut pieces, toasted
For the dressing
50ml tahini
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 crushed garlic clove
4 tbsp greek yoghurt
more lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 190C and roast the cut aubergines and onion wedges drizzled in olive oil, cumin, aleppo pepper and seasoning for around 45 minutes.
For the dressing, blitz in a blender with a little water (50ml) until it has the consistency of thick cream.
When the aubergines are almost cooked, warm the chickpeas through in a frying pan.
Then combine the aubergines and chickpeas in a serving bowl and drizzle over the dressing before scattering dates, nuts and chopped coriander to serve.