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)

Easter in Italy

“Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” is a famous refrain in Italy. “Christmas is spent with yours (family), Easter with whom you want.”
Although it’s the most important religious festival of the year, Easter in Italy tends to be very much a secular affair, usually centred around eating. There are of course many processions around the country to celebrate Holy Week, culminating in the biggest one the Via Crucis, where the Pope carries the cross (at least if the Pope is of the appropriate age and constitution to do so) to the Colosseum. Unlike many other countries, Easter Friday is not a public holiday, however schools usually close on the Wednesday or Thursday, and often with other public holidays overlapping many people take advantage of a few days off.
With spring well under way in most of Italy, Easter is a very important period for tourism, with Italians visiting the many art cities and even some beach resorts. For those not travelling there are two distinct days: Easter Sunday eating at home, Pasquetta (“Little Easter” as Easter Monday is known) going out with friends to eat.

Lent traditionally would be a period of fasting, especially from animal products such as eggs and meat, so these naturally feature highly on the Easter menu – especially lamb and affettati (cold cuts), as well as home made pasta and pies.
The collatio, the small meal with which you break-fast (which became the modern italian word colazione) is traditionally hard-boiled eggs and cold cuts, such as coratella (made from the less appealing parts of lamb) and salami. Traditionally affettati are prepared at the beginning of the winter and they are ready to eat in the spring, so these are another symbol of resurrection after the winter. Pies such as the Neapolitan Casatiello or the Piedmontese Torta Salata (with asparagus and prosciutto) are also traditional ways to start the day.

Lunch is a multi-course extravaganza. Fresh egg based pasta made into tagliatelle or lasagna, often with vegetables (such as artichokes), fresh ricotta cheese or kid meat. The main course is traditionally roasted lamb (or kid) with potatoes. Spring vegetables are in full bloom, from fave (broad beans) to carciofi (artichokes) and asparagi (asparagus). And naturally fresh cheese such as pecorino will also appear on the table. For desert the Colomba (Dove) di Pasqua is a modern invention, which replicates Christmas panettone (basically the same thing in a different shape), as well as fresh ricotta cheese based cakes, such as Pardulas from Sardinia.

Pasquetta is as eagerly anticipated and organised as New Years Eve, frantically looking for a place in the countryside to accommodate a large group of friends to eat pretty much what was eaten already eaten the day before, enjoy a passeggiata and much conviviality.

This year, despite the weather being perfect for time spent together with friends and family, we will all be home looking out at the world and thinking of our friends and the times we spent together and sharing a toast and tales of food eaten in our virtual shared spaces.