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)

Frantoi - Eating Olives

Edible vs Oil Olives?

How does an Olive grower decide whether to produce edible olives or press their fruit to make oil? In many cases it comes down to the cultivar – certain olives are better to eat than as oil (such as Kalamata). For some however, it is more simply a numbers game. Take the Taggiasca cultivar for example, from beautiful Liguria in North West Italy. So delicious are these tiny olives and so tasty that we are prepared to pay a high sum for a small jar cured in aromatic Ligurian herbs. Then just imagine how little extra virgin olive oil could be produced from the same quantity of olives – not enough to dress a salad that’s for sure. It is for this reason that we are so proud to be associated with Paolo Cassini, who puts more effort and dedication in to his exceptional oils made exclusively from the Taggiasca cultivar than anyone else we have encountered in the region. It would be easy for him to make a range of edible olive products instead, but he commits himself and his family fully to making the best oil he possibly can and the results are sublime! Paolo is a true artisan and you can taste his work in every drop.

 

All of that said, we adore edible olives in our family – to accompany an aperitif, as a tapenade, in salads and to cook with. Olives have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years but amazingly we are still only able to name a few cultivars. As mentioned elsewhere on frantoi.org the darker the olive, the riper it was when picked, so green olives indicate harvest at the beginning of the season when olives have a firmer composition and sharper, more linear flavours. Black olives are usually softer, meatier and with a broader flavour profile. Here goes at a list of our favourite edible cultivars and following that, our suggestions on where to source the best edible olives in the UK/on-line.

 

Our favourite edible olives:

Kalamata (The hero of a Greek salad, deep purple and almond shaped with a rich, smoky, fruity flavour), Lucques (tight, bright and green this almond shaped cultivar from the Languedoc has a buttery sweetness similar to avocado and is great with cheese), Taggiasca (tiny symmetric ovoid with very little flesh but rewards with sweetness and delicacy), Picholine (torpedo-shaped French green olives with a great crunch and tart, nutty, anise flavour), Manzanilla (delicious oval shaped greeny-gold Spanish cultivar with a slightly smoky, almond flavour), Castelvetrano (Italy’s favourite aperitif olive: large, bright and intense green from the Nocerella del Belice cultivar grown in Sicily. Fabulous with chilled white wine).

 

Some great places to source edible olives:

Brindisa for Manzanilla Olives

 

Neal’s Yard Dairy for Lucques Olives

 

Olives Et Al  for a fabulous selection and also some delicious nuts.