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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Cookbooks we Love

At Frantoi we love cookbooks – we own more than 50 and had a specially reinforced shelf to keep most of them at hand in our kitchen. Here we want to share a few words on books that we published in 2016 and that we really loved.

Provence to Pondichery by Tessa Kiros: we have been a fan of our fellow adopted Senese since she published Twelve, many years ago, and love her eclectic style. In her beautiful new book she takes a culinary journey from some of France’s coastal areas to various former colonies, such as Reunion, Guadeloupe and Vietnam.
Really interesting recipes, wonderful photography and a great way to understand food influences in the Francophone world.
Our family favourite is Bun Bo from Vietnam (even if it’s quite difficult to find all those Asian ingredients in Southern Tuscany!)
Acquacotta by Emiko Davies.  Acquacotta is the closest we find to a local cookbook where we live. Senese cuisine is distinct from the Maremma, but so many ingredients we buy tend to come from around the Tuscan coast – in particular fish and vegetables.
Emiko Davies is an Australian food writer of Japanese descent, currently living in Florence, who lived over a year on the tuscan coastal town of Porto Ercole, which inspired this wonderful book.  You can sense some of the Australian freshness in the recipes and a Japanese aesthetic throughout her book and photography.
Our favourite recipe is her Rigatoni alla Buttera
Five Quarters by Rachel Roddy.  The introduction is worth the price of the book alone. The English author’s sliding doors experience in Rome resonates very much in our household, and her storytelling (in this book, but also on her regular Guardian column) has reached a level of maturity that makes you expect a progression to different types of narratives.
In Five Quarters, Rachel Roddy looks through Rome’s rich and varied culinary tradition, as well as some classic Italian staples, through tales of market visits and experiences as a mother.  She has a new book coming out in 2017, covering Sicily too, Tale of Two Sinks
Very hard to choose, but one of our favourite recipes is the Octopus and potato salad
La Cucina dei Mercati in Toscana by Giulia Scarpeggia (in Italian).  Tuscan Giulia Scarpeggia has a cookery school between Siena and Florence and has a very interesting take on Tuscan food, going through all the most important food markets, and looking at hyperlocal recipes. It acts as both a travel guide and a food guide, with lots of discoveries, such as the various uses of chestnut flour.
Our family favourite recipe is Peas alla Fiorentina
Also: it’s not too late to do the right thing and buy #CookforSyria, to have great food and help in this terrible tragedy.