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)

Cime di Rapa

Cime di Rapa

Rapini or broccoli rabe: bright green, decisive in flavour and intensely good for you.  Fresh from the orto as we head towards winter and favoured in the kitchens of southern Italy in particular, it’s an ingredient we always looked for when we were in London but that we only really started to use regularly when we moved to Italy.

Intensely detoxifying and mineral rich (calcium, phosphorous, iron, vitamins A, B2 & C) you buy it by the arm-full, which means it never fits in the fridge properly, so you’re forced to cook with it immediately – and of course this makes it even more delicious.

As a member of the mustard family, the inimitable flavour of cime di rapa with its bitterness and piquancy makes it an incredible partner for a relatively neutral base note such as pasta or pastry, bread, or even eggs.

Perhaps best known as an accompaniment to orecchiette, the small ear-shaped pasta that comes from Puglia, we have been getting our fill this week and it is a true delight.  Please see our recipe for Orecchiette (or their cousins Strascinati) with Cime di Rapa and Vongole.

Cima di Rapa is particularly good with monocultivar coratina olive oil.  We have a choice of two: the more decisive Tenuta Torre di Mossa, which always has one of the highest polyphenol counts each season or Tenuta Arcamone, certified organic and without question, one of our desert island olive oils. Both are sensational oils.