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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Emilia Strazzanti’s Pasta alla Norma

Strazzanti.co is a brilliant Sicilian bakery and food experience specialist based in London. Set up by 3 sisters of Sicilian origin, chef Emilia shares her Pasta alla Norma recipe, just like her nonna made it.

Ingredients
Makes 2 portions
250g Pasta Casarecce
1 Whole Aubergine cubed
1 Garlic Clove lightly crushed Bunch fresh Basil roughly chopped 300 – 400g Tinned Tomatoes
50g Ricotta Salata grated
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (we suggest the organic Primo from Frantoi Cutrera)

1) In a large frying pan, gently heat up around 2cm of oil. In the meantime, wash your aubergine and cube into 1cm pieces. Once the oil is hot add in your aubergine and cook until golden brown, season with salt and a touch of sugar.

2) Once cooked remove a third of the aubergine and place to the side. At this point you can remove some of the excess oil but keep enough inside for step 3.

3) With the remaining aubergine inside your pan add in the lightly crushed garlic clove and roughly chopped basil and cook for 3-5 minutes until the garlic starts to turn a light golden brown.

4) Once golden, add in your chopped tomatoes and season with a touch of salt, not too much as you have already seasoned the aubergine. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down to a gentle simmer, cook for 15-20 minutes. You can place a loose lid on at this stage if you prefer a more liquid sauce.

5) Whilst your sauce is cooking, boil your water for the pasta and salt well.

6) Once the sauce is cooked after 15-20 minutes (if it becomes a little dry add a few tablespoons of pasta water).

7) At the same time cook the pasta for 3-5 minutes, remember fresh pasta takes less time to cook.

8) Add your cooked pasta to your sauce and mix well with the heat on low, then turn off your heat and add a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil and stir through.

9) Plate up your pasta and serve with the extra aubergine that was placed to the side earlier and add an extra grating of Ricotta Salata cheese.

Buon appetito!