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)

Getting Dressed

As we race towards full salad season and pack up our winter wardrobes, here are some of our favourite ways to dress. Even with salads, the choice of oil makes a massive difference depending on the other ingredients, which is why we always suggest you have more than one extra virgin olive oil open at a time.


Abundant Herby Dressing

If you’re looking for a high impact dressing to work with some lower tones such as ancient grains, pulses, aubergine, or sprouting broccoli, an uplifting herby mix is a great place to start.

In a small food blender combine mint, flat-leaf parsley, basil, coriander and oregano – you can also add in half a clove of garlic if you like. Blend until finely chopped. Then add in a little flaked salt, the juice of half a lemon and 3-4 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. A southern Italian oil works particularly well with this because it lifts the aromatics wonderfully. The consistency you are looking for is a pourable pesto.  Stir this through your salad and then add a further swirl of extra virgin olive oil to finish.

Chosen oil: Frantoi Cutrera, Primo Organic, Sicily

 

Wild Garlic Aioli

This is a little less of a dressing, perhaps more of a mayonnaise, but it works wonderfully with a salad including asparagus or green beans and is a wonderful companion to potatoes and also freshly grilled fish.

Begin by washing and drying a bunch of wild garlic (around 50g), roughly chop and then pound to a paste in a pestle and mortar. Then separately, put 2 egg yolks in to a bowl with a teaspoon of dijon mustard and whisk together. Continuing to whisk, gradually trickle in 250ml of extra virgin olive oil maintaining a very fine stream of oil and beat until you have a firm, glossy mayonnaise. Then whisk in the crushed wild garlic and 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice. Season to taste. If you want to make this more of a dressing and less of a mayonnaise, just add more oil.

Chosen oil: Frantoio Paolo Cassini, S’Ciappau, Liguria

 
Green Tahini

This is an excellent pair for roasted vegetables or lamb. Put 100ml tahini, 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt, 1 clove of minced garlic, the juice of a lemon and 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a food processor with 100ml water, 15g of parsley and 15g coriander. Whizz until it has the consistency of double cream and season to taste.

Chosen oil: Frantoio Ciccolella, Coppadoro, Puglia

 
Lemon Kefir Dressing

This gut friendly dressing works well with all types of mixed salads particularly if they contain beans or tomatoes. It is also great as a dip for raw vegetables or toasted flatbread or sourdough.

Finely chop half a shallot or tropea onion (around 1tbsp) and place in a small bowl with 1/2 clove of minced garlic, 2 tbsp of high quality white wine vinegar and a pinch of flaked sea salt. Allow to mellow for 10-15 minutes. Then using a balloon whisk, gradually add in 50ml of extra virgin olive oil, followed by a good grind of black pepper. Then to perk it up, add in a pinch of english mustard powder, a pinch of smoked paprika and a teaspoon of maple syrup and whisk together adjusting seasoning as necessary.

Chosen oil: Frantoio Fonte di Foiano, Zefiro, Tuscany

 
Honey Mustard Vinagrette

If you are looking for a tangy sweetness to add to your salad, this dressing works perfectly. It is a great match for lettuce rich salads or those with tomatoes, fish or chicken. Unlike many shop bought dressings, it is totally dairy free, the creamy texture derives from the olive oil and mustard as they emulsify. Take 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, combine with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar then add half a tablespoon of honey and whisk vigorously with a fork or shake in a jar. You can add in half a clove of minced garlic if you like, but it works also without. Season to taste and stir through your salad liberally.

Chosen oil: Frantoio Viola, Almanacco, Umbria

 

Anchovy & Lemon Dressing

If you are looking for the perfect partner for bitter leaves, including puntarelle, this simple dressing can be brought together quickly in a pestle and mortar. Pound half a clove of minced garlic with 5 chopped anchovies until you have a rough paste. Add in the juice of half a lemon and then gradually pour in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Season with black pepper.

Chosen oil: Frantoio Parovel, Ul’ka, Friuli Venezia Giulia

 

Dress like an Italian

If you are simply wishing to dress a lettuce based salad, dress like an Italian by sprinkling over flaked sea salt, then a swirl of high quality red wine vinegar, followed by 3 swirls of great extra virgin olive oil. Then toss all together. It takes seconds. To find the perfect oil for lettuce, look to the north of Italy, where the oils are more delicate and mineral so don’t overpower the subtle flavours of the leaves.

Chosen oil: Frantoio Riva, Paralello 43 Organic, Garda