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)

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Chicory

Cicoria in Italy is a wintery-spring staple. Packed full of vitamins and mineral salts (particularly in wild chicory) it is deliciously bitter and a fine side dish accompanying meat, fish or potato based dishes.

Chicory contains vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, phosphorus and carbohydrates. It is a natural blood cleanser as well as being an effective dermatosis aid (which typically flares up in the winter – yet another call to eat seasonally) and also does a great job of lowering blood sugar levels. As it’s iron rich, it’s also recommended for people who suffer from anemia, which again may be more pronounced when chicory is in season.

 

If you can get the tender young leaves, it works well as a salad starter. Nutritionists often claim we should start our meal with something bitter as it makes for much better digestion. This of course also applies to radicchio, of the same family. Indeed a radicchio/orange/fennel/olive salad is one of the best cold weather tonics you could imagine.

Another form of chicory we are particularly fond of is puntarelle, the roman stalky looking version that is julienned in to strips and then blanched in lemony water which has a curling effect. This is then dressed with a sensational anchovy, garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil sauce – an incredible partner to grilled lamb chops.

Nationwide in Italy, you are most likely to find cicoria as a ‘contorno’, either lightly boiled or steamed and then ripassato (lightly sautéed) with a little peperoncino, garlic and salt. This vegetable is insanely good for you. Don’t be afraid, get stuck in.

We particularly enjoy the richer Puglian oils with Chicory. If you are cooking with it, use Il Classico from the De Carlo family. To finish or dress a dish, Tenuta Torre di Mossa is an antioxidant-rich delight and brings chicory to a new level.